The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Juliana Araujo, Bin Li, Marcos Poplawski-Ribeiro, and Luis-Felipe Zanna
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
The permanent income hypothesis implies that frictionless open economies with exhaustible natural resources should save abroad most of their resource windfalls and, therefore, feature current account surpluses. Resource-rich developing countries (RRDCs), on the other hand, face substantial development needs and tight external borrowing constraints. By relaxing these constraints and providing a key financing source for public investment in RRDCs, temporary resource revenues might then be associated with current account deficits, or at least low surpluses. This paper develops a neoclassical model with private and public investment and several frictions that capture pervasive features in RRDCs, including absorptive capacity constraints, inefficiencies in investment, and borrowing constraints that can be relaxed when natural resources lower the country risk premium. The model is used to study the role of investment and these frictions in shaping the current account dynamics under windfalls. Since consumption and investment decisions are optimal, the model also serves to provide current account benchmarks (norms). We apply the model to the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa and discuss how our results can be used to inform the current account norm analysis pursued at the International Monetary Fund.