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Mr. Rabah Arezki and Frederik van der Ploeg
We criticize existing empirical results on the detrimental effects of natural resource dependence on the rate of economic growth after controlling for institutional quality, openness, and initial income. These results do not survive once we use instrumental variables techniques to correct for the endogenous nature of the explanatory variables. Furthermore, they suffer from omitted variables bias as they overestimate the effect of initial income per capita and thus underestimate the speed of conditional convergence. Instead, we provide new evidence for the impact of natural resource dependence on income per capita in a systematic empirical cross-country framework. In addition to a significant negative direct impact of natural resources on income per capita, we find a significant indirect effect of natural resources on institutions. We allow for interaction effects and provide evidence that the natural resource curse is particularly severe for economic performance in countries with a low degree of trade openness. Adopting policies directed toward more trade openness may thus soften the impact of a resource curse. We also check the robustness of our results by using a variety of instruments and also employing the ratio of natural capital rather than natural resource exports to national income as an explanatory variable. We find evidence that resource abundance, measured by the stock of natural capital, also induces a resource curse, but less severely for countries that are relatively open.
Mr. Saji Thomas and Mr. Arnim Schwidrowski
Countries generally tax the forestry sector to achieve the twin objectives of revenue maximization and sustainability of logging levels. In an ideal world of perfect markets and information, auctions would be the best instrument to determine the price of extraction rights. However, a number of factors-including a lack of information on the forest resources under consideration, uncertainties as to the stability of property rights over time, and a lack of access to credit-have limited the use of auctions so far, particularly in low-income countries. To establish transparency of the forestry sector's financial flows, this paper discusses a radical simplification of Liberia's current timber tax structure, including a proposal to reduce the sector's current tax system to two instruments, an area tax and an export tax.
International Monetary Fund

Abstract

This guide is designed to facilitate classroom use of The Fabric of Reform, a 30-minute educational video created by the International Monetary Fund. It is intended for use with students in economics and international relations courses at the secondary and postsecondary levels.

International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix reviews developments in the energy sector of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago during 1997–99, and assesses the outlook for energy-related industries. The paper highlights that in 1998, the decline of mature fields was exacerbated by the low price of oil experienced during the year, which made exploitation of some fields uneconomic. The paper examines the fiscal sustainability of energy resources. It also analyzes trade liberalization that has been an integral part of Trinidad and Tobago’s efforts to restructure its economy for sustained growth.
Mr. Carlos A Leite and Jens Weidmann
This paper argues that natural resource abundance creates opportunities for rent-seeking behavior and is an important factor in determining a country’s level of corruption. In a simple growth model, we illustrate the interrelationships between natural resources, corruption, and economic growth, and discuss potential anti-corruption policies. We show that the extent of corruption depends on natural resource abundance, government policies, and the concentration of bureaucratic power. Furthermore, the growth effects of natural resource discoveries and anticorruption policies crucially depend on the economy’s state of development. We empirically corroborate the model’s implications in a cross-country framework with both corruption and growth endogenized.
Mr. Dean A. DeRosa
This paper draws on the neoclassical theory of international trade to examine the limits of efficient export diversification in low-income, commodity-exporting countries. It demonstrates the fundamental importance of relative factor endowments among countries for determining the commodity composition of international trade flows under both certain and uncertain economic conditions. In recognition of the importance of international financial markets for risk-spreading and allocating resources efficiently under uncertainty, the paper emphasizes the importance of “open” economic policies towards international trade in financial assets as well as goods.