Natural Resources, Incentives and Human Capital: Reinterpreting the Curse - Economic Research Forum (ERF)

Natural Resources, Incentives and Human Capital: Reinterpreting the Curse

and Hamid Mohtadi

December, 2014


29 pages

O4. Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity
O1. Economic Development

We offer an alternative mechanism for the curse of natural resources. In this mechanism, natural resource rents, when distributed as lump sum transfers to individuals, retard economic growth by their distortive adverse effect on the incentive to invest in human capital. Extending an OLG model for this purpose, we show that if this resource-transfer effect occurs when the country’s technology level is marginal, the chance that the country will converge to a low-level equilibrium trap is greatly increased and the chance that it will converge to a high-income equilibrium in the long run is similarly reduced. We find empirical support for the model in both cross sectional and dynamic panel regressions.

Research Fellows

Hamid Mohtadi

Professor, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee



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