Is natural wealth inevitably a curse?

Written by Ashwin Rattan Tuesday, 31 July 2012 20:00
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by Otaviano Canuto and Matheus Cavallari

An abundance of natural resources is intuitively expected to be a blessing.


Nonetheless, it has been argued for some decades that large endowments of natural resources—oil, gas, and minerals in particular—may actually become more of a curse, often leading to slow economic growth and redistributive struggles.


The World Bank has started a breakthrough in national accounts toward capturing the span of assets in order to measure development progress.


A set of wealth accounts covering a 10-year period, 1995 to 2005, for more than 120 countries is now available.


This note presents an analysis of these data to revisit some of the conclusions reached in the literature on the relationship between natural resource abundance and economic growth.


The findings are in alignment with the view that there is no clear deterministic evidence of natural resource abundance as a curse or a blessing; therefore, the effect on a country depends on other determinants.


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