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Encyclopedia > Resource curse

The resource curse or paradox of plenty, refers to the paradox that countries with an abundance of natural resources tend to have less economic growth than countries without these natural resources. This may happen for many different reasons, including a decline in the competitiveness of other economic sectors (caused by appreciation of the real exchange rate as resource revenues enter an economy); volatility of revenues from the natural resource sector, and government mismanagement, or political corruption, provoked by the inflows of easy windfalls from the resource sector. World GDP/capita changed very little for most of human history before the industrial revolution. ... In finance, the exchange rate (also known as the foreign-exchange rate, forex rate or FX rate) between two currencies specifies how much one currency is worth in terms of the other. ... World map of the Corruption Perceptions Index, which measures the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians. Blue colors indicate little corruption, red colors indicate much corruption In broad terms, political corruption is the misuse by government officials of their governmental powers for illegitimate...

Contents

Resource curse thesis

The term resource curse thesis was first used by Richard Auty in 1993 to describe how countries rich in natural resources were not able to use that wealth to boost their economies and how, counter-intuitively, these countries had lower economic growth than countries without an abundance of natural resources.[1] However, the idea that natural resources might be more a curse than a blessing began to emerge in the 1980's. Numerous studies, including a notable one by Jeffrey Sachs and Andrew Warner, have shown a link between natural resource abundance and poor economic growth.[2] This disconnect between natural resource wealth and economic growth can be seen clearly by looking at an example from the oil-producing countries. From 1965-1998, in the OPEC countries, gross national product per capita growth decreased on average by 1.3%, while in the rest of the developing world, per capita growth was on average 2.2%.[3] Some argue that financial flows from Foreign Aid can provoke effects that are similar to the Resource Curse.[4] Jeffrey Sachs Jeffrey David Sachs (born November 5, 1954 in Detroit, Michigan) is an American economist known for his work as an economic advisor to governments in Latin America, Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, Asia, and Africa. ... Not to be confused with APEC. OPEC Logo The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is an international cartel[1][2] made up of Iraq, Indonesia, Iran, Kuwait, Libya, Angola, Algeria, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. ... Measures of national income and output are used in economics to estimate the value of goods and services produced in an economy. ... Per capita is a Latin phrase meaning for each head. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Development aid. ...


Negative effects and causes

Conflict

Natural resources can, and often do, provoke conflicts within societies, as different groups and factions fight for their share (Rent seeking). Sometimes these emerge openly as separatist conflicts in regions (such as in Angola's oil-rich Cabinda region enclave) where the resources are produced; but often the conflicts occur in more hidden forms, such as fights between different government ministries or departments for access to budgetary allocations. This tends to erode governments' abilities to function effectively. There are several main types of relationships between natural resources and armed conflicts. First, resource curse effects can undermine the quality of governance and economic performances, thereby increasing the vulnerability of countries to conflicts (the 'resource curse' argument). Second, conflicts can occur over the control and exploitation of resources and the allocation of their revenues (the 'resource war' argument). Third, access to resource revenues by belligerents can prolong conflicts (the 'conflict resource' argument).[5] According to one widely-publicised academic study, a country that is otherwise typical but has primary commodity exports around 25% of GDP has a 33% risk of conflict, but when exports are only 5% of GDP the chance of conflict drops to 6%. [6][7] The phenomenon of rent-seeking was first identified in connection with monopolies by Gordon Tullock, in a paper in 1967. ... The term conflict resource refers to resources involved in armed conflicts. ...


Taxation

See also: Rentier state

In many "ordinary" societies that are not resource-dependent, governments tax citizens, who demand efficient and responsive government in return. This bargain establishes a political relationship between rulers and subjects. In countries whose economies are dominated by natural resources, however, rulers don't need to tax their citizens because they have a guaranteed source of income from natural resources. So this relationship between rulers and subjects breaks down. More insidiously, those benefiting from mineral resource wealth may perceive an effective and watchful civil service and civil society as a threat to the benefits that they enjoy, and they may take steps to thwart them. As a result, citizens are often poorly served by their rulers, and if the citizens complain, money from the natural resources enables governments to pay for armed forces to keep the citizens in check. Countries whose economies are dominated by resource extraction industries tend to be more repressive, corrupt and badly-managed. // The study of rentierism was born of Middle East area studies and follows from the same premises of earlier “Dutch Disease” or “Resource Curse” theories. ...


Dutch disease

For more details on this topic, see Dutch disease.

Dutch disease is an economic phenomenon in which the revenues from natural resource exports damage a nation's productive economic sectors by causing an increase of the real exchange rate and wage increase. This makes tradable sectors, notably agriculture and manufacturing, less competitive in world markets. The increasing national revenue will often result in higher government spending (health, welfare, military) that increases the real exchange rate and raise wages. The decrease in the sectors exposed to international competition and consequently even greater dependence on natural resource revenue leaves the economy extremely vulnerable to price changes in the natural resource. Also, since productivity generally increases faster in the manufacturing sector, the economy will lose out on some of those productivity gains. This article is about the economic phenomenon. ... In finance, the exchange rate (also known as the foreign-exchange rate, forex rate or FX rate) between two currencies specifies how much one currency is worth in terms of the other. ... Competition characterises a biochemical, ecologic, economic, political, or sporting activity whereby two or more individuals or groups strive antagonistically against one another for some reward. ...


Revenue volatility

Natural resource prices tend to fluctuate wildly; for example crude oil prices rose from around $10/barrel in 1998/1999 to over $90/barrel in 2007. When government revenues are dominated by inflows from natural resources (for example, oil and diamonds accounted for 99.7% of Angola's exports in 2005, according to IMF data) this volatility can play havoc with government planning. Abrupt changes in economic realities that result from this often provoke widespread breaking of contracts, and this erodes the rule of law.


Excessive borrowing

Since governments expect more income in the future, they start accumlating debt, even though they are receiving natural resource revenues as well. This is encouraged, since, if the real exchange rate increases, through capital inflows or the Dutch disease, this makes the interest payments on the debt cheaper. In addition, the country's natural resources act as collateral leading to more credit. However, if the natural resources' prices begin to fall, and if the real exchange rate falls, a government would have less money with which to pay a relatively more expensive debt. For example, many oil-rich countries like Nigeria and Venezuela saw rapid expansions of their debt burdens during the 1970s oil boom; however, when oil prices fell back in the 1980s, bankers stopped lending to them and many of them fell into arrears, triggering penalty interest charges that made their debts grow even more. This article is about the economic phenomenon. ...


Corruption

In resource-rich countries, it is often easier to maintain authority through allocating resources to favoured constituents than through growth-oriented economic policies and a level, well-regulated playing field. Huge flows of money from natural resources fuel this political corruption. The government has less need to build up the institutional infrastructure to regulate and tax a productive economy outside the resource sector, so the economy may remain undeveloped.[8]. The presence of offshore tax havens provide widespread opportunities for corrupt politicians to hide their wealth. World map of the Corruption Perceptions Index, which measures the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians. Blue colors indicate little corruption, red colors indicate much corruption In broad terms, political corruption is the misuse by government officials of their governmental powers for illegitimate... A tax haven is a place where certain taxes are levied at a low rate or not at all. ...


Lack of diversification and enclave effects

Economic diversification may be neglected by authorities or delayed in the light of the temporary high profitability of the limited natural resources. The attempts at diversification that do occur are often grand public works projects which may be misguided or mismanaged. However, even if the authorities try to diversify the economy, this is made difficult because the resource extraction is vastly more lucrative and out competes other industry. Successful natural resource exporting countries often become more dependent on extractive industries over time. While the resource sectors tend to provide large financial revenues, they often provide relatively few jobs, and tend to operate as enclaves with few forward and backward connections to the rest of the economy. Look up Public works in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Human resources

In many poor countries, natural resource industries tend to pay far higher salaries than what would be available elsewhere in the economy. This tends to attract the best talent from both private and government sectors, so damaging these sectors by depriving them of their best skilled personnel. Another possible effect of the resource curse is the crowding out of human capital; countries that rely on natural resource exports may tend to neglect education because they see no immediate need for it. Resource-poor economies like Taiwan or South Korea, by contrast, spent enormous efforts on education, and this contributed in part to their economic success (see East Asian Tigers). Other researchers, however, dispute this conclusion; they argue that natural resources generate easily taxable rents that more often than not result in increased spending on education.[9] Human capital is a way of defining and categorizing the skills and abilities as used in employment and as they otherwise contribute to the economy. ... Map of East Asian Tigers  Hong Kong  Singapore South Korea  Taiwan, Republic of China Skyline of Hong Kong Island, taken from Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong The skyline of Singapores Central Business District (CBD) seen here at dusk Taipei is Taiwans largest city and financial center. ...


Democracy

It has also been argued that one can correlate rises and falls in the price of oil with rises and falls in the pace of freedom in major oil producing countries.[2]


Notes

  1. ^ Auty, Richard M. (1993). Sustaining Development in Mineral Economies: The Resource Curse Thesis. London: Routledge. 
  2. ^ Sachs, Jeffrey D., Warner, Andrew M. (1995). Natural resource abundance and economic growth. NBER Working Paper 5398.
  3. ^ Gylfason, Thorvaldur (2000). Natural resources, education and economic development. CEPR Discussion Paper 2594.
  4. ^ Djankov, Montalvo, Reynal-Querol (2005). The curse of aid. http://www.econ.upf.edu/docs/papers/downloads/870.pdf
  5. ^ Philippe Le Billon, "Fuelling War: Natural Resources and Armed Conflicts", Adelphi Paper 373, IISS & Routledge, 2006.
  6. ^ Natural resources and violent conflict: options and actions. Eds. Ian Bannon and Paul Collier. World Bank, 2003.
  7. ^ Paul Collier, "Natural Resources, Development and Conflict: Channels of causation and Policy Interventions," World Bank, April 28, 2003.
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ Stijns, Jean-Philippe (2006). Natural resource abundance and human capital accumulation. World Development,Volume 34, Issue 6, June, Pages 1060-1083.

The Adelphi Papers monograph series is the principial publication of the policy-related original academic research of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. ... The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) is a British research institute (or think tank) in the area of international affairs. ... Routledge is an imprint for books in the humanities part of the Taylor & Francis Group, which also has Brunner-Routledge, RoutledgeCurzon and RoutledgeFalmer divisions. ...

External links and suggested further reading

  • The Paradox of Plenty, by Terry Lynn Karl
  • Escaping the Resource Curse, edited by Macartan Humphreys, Jeffrey D. Sachs, and Joseph E. Stiglitz (Columbia University Press, 2007)
  • Poisoned Wells: the Dirty Politics of African Oil, by Nicholas Shaxson (Palgrave MacMillan, 2007)
  • Oil Wars, Edited by Mary Kaldor, Terry Lynn Karl and Yahya Said (Pluto Press, 2007)
  • Sachs, Jeffrey D., Warner, Andrew M. (1995). Natural resource abundance and economic growth. NBER Working Paper 5398
  • Michael Dauderst├Ądt / Arne Schildberg (Eds.): Dead Ends of Transition. Rentier Economies and Protectorates. Frankfurt 2006.
  • Hodges, Tony. Angola: Anatomy of an Oil State. James Currey (2004).
  • Conference Documentation: Transforming Authoritarian Rentier Economies and Protectorates
  • Property Rights and the Resource Curse, by Leif Wenar, (Policy Innovations, Spring (2007)
Video

  Results from FactBites:
 
Legal Remedies for the Resource Curse (388 words)
When resource extraction companies can obtain oil, diamonds, gold, coltan, timber, and other natural resources through covert contacts with unaccountable government officials, the losers are the people in the communities where the wealth originates.
Local populations suffer the effects of the "resource curse," including the destruction of their immediate environment and the social and economic devastation that follows: arbitrary eviction and dispossession, unlawful arrest or harassment, and neglect of health care, housing, and education.
Although corruption in transnational resource extraction is generally subject to inadequate legal safeguards, the report identifies opportunities for civil society action.
Resource curse - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1242 words)
The resource curse refers to the paradox that countries with an abundance of natural resources tend to have less economic growth than countries without these natural resources.
The term 'resource curse thesis' was first used by Richard Auty in 1993 to describe how countries rich in natural resources were not able to use that wealth to boost their economies and how, counter-intuitively, these countries had lower economic growth than countries without an abundance of natural resources.
Another possible effect of the resource curse is the crowding out of human capital; countries that rely on natural resource exports may tend to neglect education because they see no immediate need for it.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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