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Natural Resources, Education , and Economic Development. Thorvaldur Gylfason. Overview. Document the inverse relationship between natural resource abundance and economic growth across countries since 1965

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Natural Resources, Education, and Economic Development

Thorvaldur Gylfason


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Overview

  • Document the inverse relationship between natural resource abundance and economic growth across countries since 1965

  • Discuss four channels of transmission from abundant natural resources to slow economic growth

  • Stress the importance of education


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Background: A quick look at OPEC

Nigeria has been stagnant since independence in 1966: No growth

Per capita growth 1965-1998

Iran and Venezuela: -1% per year

Libya: -2%

Iraq and Kuwait: -3%

Qatar: -6%

Why?


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Background: A quick look at OPEC

King Faisal of Saudi Arabia (1964-1975) would hardly have been surprised:

“In one generation we went from riding camels to riding Cadillacs. The way we are wasting money, I fear the next generation will be riding camels again.”


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Increasing awareness that oil brings risks

If ... oil revenue is managed well, it can educate, heal and provide jobs for ... the people. But oil brings risks as well as benefits. Rarely have developing countries used oil money to improve the lives of the majority of citizens or bring steady economic growth. More often, oil revenues have caused crippling economic distortions and been spent on showy projects, weapons and Paris shopping trips for government officials.

New York Times, 1 August 2000.


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Is OPEC an exception?

No, this seems to be a general pattern.

Of 65 natural resource abundant countries 1970-1998, only four had

  • Investment of more than 25% of GDP

  • Per capita GNP growth of more than 4% per year

    They are:

    Botswana, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand


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Economic growth and natural capital

What is the empirical evidence?

  • A new measure of natural resource abundance.

  • Confirms results based on other measures.

A ten percentage point increase in the natural capital share goes along with a decrease in per capita growth by nearly 1% per year.

86 countries


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Four channels of transmission

1. The Dutch disease

Exchange rates, wages, volatility

Hurts level or composition of exports

2. Rent seeking

Protectionism, corruption

3. Overconfidence

Poor quality of policies and institutions

4. Neglect of education


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Resource abundance and policy failure

The problem is not the existence of natural wealth ...

but rather the failure to avert the dangers that follow the gifts of nature.

Norway is a success story.

Government takes in 80% of oil rent and invests it mostly in foreign securities.

No signs of rent seeking, overconfidence, or neglect of education

College enrolment has risen from 26% in 1970 to 62% in 1997.


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More on education

Now consider the relationship between natural resource abundance and three different measures of education inputs, outcomes, and participation:

1. Public expenditure on education

2. Expected years of schooling for girls

3. Secondary-school enrolment


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Expenditure on education and natural capital

An 18 percentage point increase in the natural capital share is associated with a decrease in public expenditure on education by 1% of GNP.

90 countries


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Years of schooling and natural capital

A five percentage point increase in the natural capital share is associated with a decrease by one year in the schooling that girls can expect.

52 countries


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Secondary enrolment and natural capital

A five percentage point increase in the natural capital share goes along with a decrease in secondary-school enrolment by almost 10 percentage points.

91 countries


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Economic growth and education

A 40 percentage point increase in the secondary enrolment rate goes along with an increase in per capita growth by one percentage point per year.

86 countries


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Summary of results

We have seen that, across countries:

1. Economic growth varies inversely with natural resource abundance.

2. Three different measures of education inputs, outcomes, and participation are all inversely related to natural resource abundance.

3. Economic growth varies directly with education.


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Regression results

Recursive system

Reduced form

Note: 85 observations. Method of estimation is SUR. t-statistics are shown within parentheses.


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Regression results

Direct effect of natural capital on growth is -0.06

Note: 85 observations. Method of estimation is SUR. t-statistics are shown within parentheses.


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Regression results

Note: 85 observations. Method of estimation is SUR. t-statistics are shown within parentheses.


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Regression results

Indirect effect through education is -0.94·0.04  -0.04

Note: 85 observations. Method of estimation is SUR. t-statistics are shown within parentheses.


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Regression results

Total effect is -0.06 + (-0.94)·0.04  -0.10

Note: 85 observations. Method of estimation is SUR. t-statistics are shown within parentheses.


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Regression results

Total effect is -0.06 + (-0.94)·0.04 -0.10

Note: 85 observations. Method of estimation is SUR. t-statistics are shown within parentheses.


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Interpretation of results

Natural-resource-based industries are generally less high-skill labor intensive and less high-quality capital intensive than others, and so

  • confer few external benefits

  • distort comparative advantage

  • impede learning by doing, technical advance, and economic growth


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A digression on investment

A ten percentage point increase in the natural capital share goes along with a decrease in investment by over 2% of GDP.

86 countries


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A further digression on openness

A ten percentage point increase in the natural capital share goes along with a decrease in openness by 4% of GDP.

91 countries


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Per capita incomeand natural capital

Each ten percentage point increase in the natural capital share is associated with a decrease in per capita income by 75%.

90 countries


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Marshall was right

There is no extravagance more prejudicial to growth of national wealth than that wasteful negligence which allows genius that happens to be born of lowly parentage to expend itself in lowly work. No change would conduce so much to a rapid increase of material wealth as an improvement in our schools, and especially those of the middle grades, provided it be combined with an extensive system of scholarships, which will enable the clever son of a working man to rise gradually from school to school till he has the best theoretical and practical education which the age can give.

ALFRED MARSHALL

(1920)


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Conclusion

Natural resources bring risks.

Too many people tend to become stuck in low-skill intensive industries.

A false sense of security leads people to underrate or overlook the need for good policies and good education.

Awash in easy cash, they may find that education does not pay.

Resource-poor countries are less likely to make this mistake.

The End