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Title: Essays on commodities, terms of trade and development
Author: Makhlouf , Yousef
ISNI:       0000 0004 5991 9548
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2015
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Significant changes in commodity prices imply serious challenges for many national economies, especially for those located in developing countries. Although the extant literature has investigated some of the effects, as well as the determinants, of commodity price movements, there are still many gaps in this field. This thesis fills some of these gaps in an attempt to achieve a deeper understanding of commodity price effects. To do so, the thesis employs a country-specific commodity index, commodity terms of trade (CTOT), which reflects the national dimension of global commodity price fluctuations by accounting for national commodity trade structures. The first essay examines two characteristics of commodity prices, trend and volatility, as potential channels of the relatively well studied resource curse phenomenon . In particular, the results show that CTOT volatility (growth) prevents (enhances) economic growth of commodity exporters. Additionally, this chapter demonstrates that financial development and fiscal policy affect CTOT volatility in countries that are recognized as leaders of commodity demand e.g. developed countries. The second essay focuses on the CTOT measure itself by evaluating the effects of typical commodity price determinants on CTOT growth. This models the aggregate, country-level effect of these global determinants, and hence removes the ambiguity caused by their mixed effects across individual commodities. The results show that determinants that boost commodity prices improve (deteriorate) CT9.T growth for commodity exporters (importers) and vice versa for determinants that lower commodity prices. Importantly, emerging market growth is the only determinant that universally and consistently affects the CTOTs in four groups of countries, classified by whether they are exporters or importers, and whether their trade basket is dominated by oil or not. Finally, the third essay studies the relationship between CTOT growth and volatility and child mortality. Child mortality is an important indicator of a country's welfare, yet its nexus with commodity prices remains underexplored. The essay examines this relationship not only for commodity-exporters but also for commodity- importers .. Additionally, the essay investigates how democracy and commodity dependence influence this relationship. The main finding is that CTOT volatility raises child mortality especially on commodity importers. This spots new light on commodity dependence outcomes as the literature traditionally focuses on commodity-exporters, solely. However, democracy and low-commodity dependence can mitigate this effect.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available