وفور منابع طبیعی و انباشت سرمایه انسانی
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : World Development, Volume 34, Issue 6, June 2006, Pages 1060–1083
This paper studies the link between resource abundance and human capital accumulation. It reviews the commonly used indicators of resource abundance and human capital accumulation. The case for a form of resource curse in human capital accumulation is not robust to reasonable changes in these indicators. In fact, subsoil wealth and resource rents per capita are shown to be significantly correlated with improved indicators of human capital accumulation. If mineral wealth is what authors have in mind when they refer to natural resource abundance, then they should choose indicators that measure this concept as accurately as possible.
It is widely assumed in the literature that natural resources tend to slow down economic growth in countries that possess or discover them. Sachs and Warner, 1995 and Sachs and Warner, 1999 have most notably made this claim. It deserves careful scrutiny if only because of its potential implications for development policy. In particular, the Extractive Industries Review (EIR) commissioned by the World Bank (2003) argues that international financial institutions should cease lending for hydrocarbon projects by 2008 and should limit lending for other mining activity to those countries with effective governments. In a press release, the World Bank (2004) has politely dismissed the basic thrust of the EIR’s recommendations and announced that “management […] would continue investments in oil, gas, and mining production, as these will continue to be an essential part of the development of many poor nations.” However, subsequent developments seem to indicate that the questions raised by the EIR are likely to continue haunting the World Bank particularly its Mining Department. The purpose of this paper is to shed some new light on this debate. Because resource abundance is likely to have a large variety of possibly conflicting effects on different sectors and functions of the economy, the paper restricts its attention to the link between resource abundance and human capital accumulation. The question at stake here is: Do natural resource-abundant countries tend to accumulate more or less human capital than resource-poor countries? That human capital accumulation accompanies mineral activities should be positive news from the perspective of economic development. Human capital accumulation is a crucial issue for economic development in all countries. Barro, 1997 and Barro, 2001 argues that education permanently increases the efficiency of the labor force by fostering democracy. He also argues that human capital facilitates the absorption of superior technologies from leading countries. This technology-absorption effect is supposed to be especially important at the secondary and higher education levels. Similarly, Aghion, Caroli, and Garcia-Penalosa (1999) assert that education creates better conditions for good governance by improving health and enhancing equality. Development economists, most notably Sen (1999), stress the importance of education, and in particular the importance of educating women in developing countries. The marginal social returns of education for growth are considered sizeable at the human capital levels characteristic of developing economies. Additionally, given the high degree of income inequality prevailing in these countries, education is often considered a better indicator of the median level of development than gross domestic product per capita. Let us briefly review the limited literature dealing with the nexus between resource abundance and human capital accumulation. Gylfason (2001) shows that public expenditure on education relative to national income, expected years of schooling for girls, and gross secondary enrollment are all inversely related to the share of natural capital in national wealth across countries. He concludes that natural capital appears to crowd out human capital, thereby slowing the pace of economic development. Gylfason asserts, “nations that are confident that their natural resources are their most important asset may inadvertently—and perhaps even deliberately!—neglect the development of their [other] resources, by devoting inadequate attention and expenditure to education.” He goes on to add, “their natural wealth may blind them to the need for educating their children.” Birdsall, Pinckney, and Sabot (2001) start by observing that most governments around the world extol the benefits of education while claiming that their investment in education is limited because of a lack of money. Indeed, the EIR (World Bank, 2003) reports that governments “believe that [extractive] industries contribute to […] poverty alleviation [and that] revenues from extractive industries can be used for […] education […]” (Vol. 3, Annex 5, p. 102). As Birdsall et al. (2001) note, if limits on human capital investment primarily result from binding government constraints, resource abundance should induce additional investment, all else equal. Yet, these authors argue that the data tell another story: resource-abundant countries, on average, invest less in education than other countries. Just how surprising we can find the paradoxical result reported by Birdsall and her coauthors is debatable. On one hand, Wade (1992) argues that, in Latin America for example, governments controlled by the owners of natural resources have no incentive to invest in basic skills. The idea is that in resource-abundant countries, with plentiful foreign exchange, there is no incentive for the political elite to invest in basic skills so as to export the manufactures needed to pay for imports. Rather, the resource-owning elite have a tendency in these circumstances to use the country’s resources to invest in highly skilled labor, particularly in the form of college-level education for their children. On the other hand, it is surprising that while mineral states tend to lavishly spend their revenues on numerous development projects and programs (see, e.g., Ascher, 1999), education would be the only exception. It is even more surprising to read that in regard to education, the same mineral states actually spend less than other states. In fact, in an under appreciated paper about resource abundance and economic growth, Davis (1995) finds human capital accumulation indicators to be higher in mineral countries than non-mineral countries. The results in this paper support his conclusions. This paper explains why Gylfason (2001) and Birdsall et al. (2001) have reached different conclusions. It improves upon Davis (1995) by using richer human capital data and better resource abundance measures. This paper is organized as follows. Section 2 presents the data used, paying close attention to the different indicators of resource abundance and human capital accumulation used in the literature in order to better understand why they lead us to strikingly different conclusions. Section 3 reports and comments on linear correlation coefficients between these various resource abundance and human capital accumulation indicators. These correlation coefficients are bootstrapped to generate confidence intervals and deal with non-normality and sample representativity issues. Section 4 discusses some extensions to the results in Section 3 results and suggests some candidates for country case studies based on the variables surveyed in this paper. Finally, Section 5 presents the conclusions of this paper and offers some recommendations for future research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
There are obviously many possible extensions to and many unresolved questions about the set of indicators covered here. Indeed, even the average number of years can still be considered a relatively raw measure of human capital accumulation when we factor in that in some cases years of education do not necessarily translate into marketable skills. Similarly, one important potential byproduct of education is social capital. Unfortunately, we can only wish that more countries have data on educational achievement scores and social capital indicators. To claim a negative and significant correlation between resource abundance and human capital accumulation using Pearson correlations, we must arbitrarily pick indicators on both sides of the correlation. As a corollary, such claims are not robust to reasonable—and actually desirable—changes in the choice of indicators. Gylfason, 2001 and Birdsall et al., 2001 make an important contribution to the development literature by analyzing some of the existing data regarding the nexus between resource abundance and human accumulation. However, they conclude in favor of a negative effect running from resource abundance to human capital accumulation because of the use of questionable resource abundance indicators. Gylfason’s share of natural capital in national wealth suffers from incorporating elements such as non-timber benefits of forests and the opportunity cost of protected areas that have little to do with a strict definition of natural resources, that is, a definition restricted to minerals and fuels. In fact, when we look at correlations between human capital indicators and the subsoil wealth:physical capital ratio instead, we find insignificant correlation coefficients for all countries and positive and significant coefficients among developing countries. Birdsall et al. (2001) use Auty’s (2001) country classification to conclude that resource-rich countries, compared to resource-poor countries, underinvest in human capital. As discussed earlier, there are some fundamental problems with their use of Auty’s classification system and their choice of an arbitrary land per capita threshold. In fact, if we look instead at correlations between arable land per capita as a continuous—rather than categorical—variable, we find positive and significant correlations between this variable and total years of education, the net secondary enrollment rate, and the share of aggregate expenditure devoted to public education. To find negative correlation coefficients between arable land per capita and human capital accumulation indicators, we have to restrict the sample to developing countries, which is actually what Birdsall et al. (2001) do in their paper. It is not the purpose of this paper to argue that restricting attention to developing countries is inappropriate. However, arable land per capita and agricultural export intensity tell us more about the effect on education of a comparative advantage and specialization in the agricultural sector than they tell us about the effect of natural resource abundance (interpreted in its usual sense as mineral wealth) on human capital accumulation. While among all countries, agricultural export intensity is negatively and significantly associated with human capital accumulation indicators, the corresponding correlation coefficients are not significant among developing countries. If development policy is the focus, it would therefore be advisable to proceed to further investigation before concluding that moving away from agriculture might favor the accumulation of human capital. Future papers on the effect of natural resource abundance on various aspects of macroeconomic development would benefit from establishing a clear distinction between factor endowments in the agricultural vs. mining sector. In other words, if mineral wealth is what authors have in mind when they refer to natural resource abundance, then they should use resource abundance indicators that appropriately measure this type of endowment and refrain from using indicators that capture a comparative advantage in the agricultural sector. Additionally, the choice of the variable used to scale resource abundance also matters. It would be wiser to abstain from scaling factors that are endogenous to a country’s development process because they tend to bias results by systematically underestimating the resource abundance of countries that successfully accumulate factors of production. Certainly, it is possible to argue that there is much more to analyzing the effects of mineral endowments and exploitation on development than the seemingly narrow focus on human capital accumulation adopted here. There is a long list of other channels of operation running from resource abundance to economic development; to name just one example, mineral activities are likely to have a profound and lasting impact on the environment. These other channels of operation should continue to be the object of research. Nevertheless, as the Extractive Industries Review argues, “consumption of finite resources could be considered sustainable if it improves the welfare of future generations by, for example, raising other forms of capital, such as human capital (if revenues are used, say, for education) or social capital” (World Bank, 2003, Vol. 1, p. 4). The evidence offered in this paper suggests that, at a minimum, we should carefully consider human capital accumulation before attempting to discourage mineral production, especially in developing countries.