Resource Abundance and Economic Development

By R. M. Auty | Go to book overview

post-apartheid South Africa remains uncertain, with strong pressures for redistribution towards the poor black majority—a redistribution that requires a faster rate of economic growth (Chapter 15).

Despite many disappointments in the performance of resource-abundant countries outside of the 'regions of recent settlement' we believe it is clear that pessimism about resource-led growth is firmly refuted by the historical record that we have outlined. Even if growth is 'dependent', the stable growth of the 'North' has meant that the 'South' has had the opportunity to grow as a consequence. The performance of the laggards is clearly due more to internal problems and policy failures than to lack of opportunities in the world market.

We therefore feel that the mainstream liberal framework, with a dose of interventionism, has on the whole been vindicated. International trade and factor movements were instrumental when it came to raising the rate of growth in resource-abundant economies during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, albeit under circumstances that may have been fairly unique to that period. That some countries performed badly later is a different story. They made the wrong policy choices and either failed to industrialize, or industrialized in an inefficient manner. That is, they failed to make the transition that has been critical for making the best use of trade in the second half of the twentieth century when international exchange of goods and services has indeed been an engine of growth again—perhaps even more than it was during the 'golden age' of 1870-1914. The next chapter further explores the nature of the relationship between natural resources, policy and economic growth with reference to a short-run macroeconomic model.


Adas, Michael (1974), The Burma Delta: Economic Development and Social Change on an Asian Rice Frontier, 1852-1941, Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.

Akira, Suehiro (1996), Capital Accumulation in Thailand, 1855-1985, Bangkok: Silkworm Books.

Bruton, Henry J. (1992), in collaboration with Gamini Abeysekera, Nimal Sanderatne and Zainal Aznam Yusof, The Political Economy of Poverty, Equity, and Growth: Sri Lanka and Malaysia, New York: Oxford University Press.

Bulmer-Thomas, Victor (1987), The Political Economy of Central America since 1920, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cardoso, Ciro F. S. (1977), 'The formation of the coffee estate in nineteenth-century Costa Rica', in Kenneth Duncan and Ian Rutledge (eds.) with the collaboration of Colin Hardin, Land and Labour in Latin America. Essays on the Development of Agrarian Capitalism in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 165-202.

Cariola, Carmen and Osvaldo Sunkel (1985), 'The growth of the nitrate industry and socioeconomic change in Chile, 1880-1930', in Roberto Cortés Conde and Shane J. Hunt (eds.), The Latin American Economies: Growth and the Export Sector 1880-1930, New York and London: Holmes & Meier, 137-254.

Catão, Luis (1992), 'The failure of export-led growth in Brazil and Mexico, c. 1870-1930', Research Paper 31, London: University of London, Institute of Latin American Studies.


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Resource Abundance and Economic Development
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Unu World Institute for Development Economics Research (Unu/Wider) ii
  • Resource Abundance and Economic Development iii
  • Foreword v
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Contents ix
  • List of Tables xi
  • List of Figures xiv
  • List of Contributors xv
  • Part I Introduction 2
  • 1: Introduction and Overview 3
  • References 15
  • Part II Critical Parameters in Resource-Based Development Models 18
  • 3: The Sustainability of Extractive Economies 36
  • Appendix 3.1 Deriving Net Income and Genuine Saving 46
  • References 55
  • References 73
  • Part III Long-Term Perspective On, and Models Of, Resource-Based Growth 94
  • References 109
  • 7: Short-Run Models of Contrasting Natural Resource Endowments 113
  • References 124
  • References 142
  • Part IV Development Trajectories of Resource-Abundant Countries 145
  • 9: Competitive Industrialization with Natural Resource Abundance 147
  • References 163
  • 10: A Growth Collapse with Diffuse Resources 165
  • References 177
  • References 191
  • 12: A Growth Collapse with High Rent Point Resources 193
  • References 206
  • 13: Large Resource-Abundant Countries Squander Their Size Advantage 208
  • References 220
  • Part V Lessons for Policy Reform 223
  • References 237
  • 15: Growth, Capital Accumulation, and Economic Reform in South Africa 239
  • Appendix 15.1 257
  • References 258
  • 16: Reforming Resource-Abundant Transition Economies 260
  • References 275
  • References 294
  • 18: A Nordic Perspective on Natural Resource Abundance 296
  • Part VI Conclusions 314
  • 19: Conclusions 315
  • References 327
  • Index 329


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