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Title: The economic effects of resource extraction in developing countries
Author: Cust, James Frederick
ISNI:       0000 0004 5353 6618
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis presents three core chapters examining different aspects of the relationship between natural resources and economic development. While addressing different questions they share several features in common: a concern with causal inference; overcoming the challenges of endogeneity between resource abundance and other characteristics of developing countries; and the use of new and novel datasets with spatially identified units of analysis. The work contributes to a rich and growing empirical literature seeking to deepen our understanding of the underlying mechanisms affecting the fortunes of resource-abundant countries. In the introductory chapter I discuss the extensive literature on this topic and in particular focus on the new generation of well-identified within-country studies, seeking to understand the empirical relationship between resources and economic development. Countries typically welcome the news of a resource discovery with joy and indeed, resource discoveries hold great economic potential. But what determines whether a country is resource rich or not? Is it more than just a chance finding, or good geology? In Chapter 2, entitled Institutions and the Location of Oil Exploration I present an investigation into this question. I examine the relationship between governance and choices of where to drill for oil. This work utilises a new dataset on exploration wells and looks at the distribution of drilling close to national borders. This allows me to identify estimates for the effect of differences in governance between neighbours. Two times out of three, investors choose to drill on the side of borders that are better governed, all other things being equal. This suggests that resource-wealth itself may be contingent on factors beyond geology, and indeed may be endogenous to the process of development. In Chapter 3, entitled The Local Effects of Resource Extraction, I turn my attention to the local economic consequences of industrial mining in Indonesia. I present a simple three-sector general equilibrium model to generate predictions for the local labour market, akin to the Corden-Neary Dutch disease model of the macroeconomy. I test the predicted effects in response to an exogenous resource sector shock by looking at mine opening or mine expansion events across three hundred mines. I test the predictions of the model, first by estimating the economic footprint from industrial mining; found to be an average of fifteen kilometre radius. I then examine the response of reported labour market activity from households surveyed in nearby communities. Here I find no evidence for a shift of local labour into the mining sector. I do find however a notable movement of labour from the traded sectors (agriculture and manufacturing) to the non-traded service sector, with a strong effect for foreign-owned mines versus domestic ones. Chapter 4, entitled Disentangling the Effects of Resource Extraction: Local Government and Investment Multipliers, examines the oil and gas boom in Indonesia from 1999-2009. Here I deploy a variety of identification strategies to attempt to disentangle the regional effects of the boom, measured in terms of district GDP. I estimate effects arising from transfers of revenue to local government. Using an instrumental variable approach I isolate the fiscal channel from resource projects. I find a positive and significant effect of increased local government revenues on district GDP over the boom decade. I then examine the spillovers from resource projects, isolating them from fiscal transfers. For districts neighbouring resource rich districts I find evidence for a modest positive effect arising from project investments, rather than fiscal transfers. In Chapter 5 I present concluding thoughts and discuss a future research agenda. I also summarise the burgeoning landscape of resource data available for within country and spatially identified studies and offer some thoughts on how this might evolve.
Supervisor: Venables, Anthony; Frederick, van der Ploeg Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Development economics ; Economics ; Econometrics ; Natural resources ; economic development ; institutions ; fiscal decentralization ; oil ; petroleum