van der Ploeg,F. and Poelhekke,S.(2009): The pungent smell of "red herrings": Subsoil assets, rents, volatility and the resource curse. De Nederlandsche Bank Working Paper, No.233, 22p.


 Brunnschweiler and Bulte (2008) provide cross-country evidence that the resource curse is a "red herring" once one corrects for the endogeneity of natural resource exports and allows resource abundance to have an effect on growth. Their results show that resource exports are no longer significant while the value of subsoil assets has a significant positive effect on growth. But the measure of subsoil assets that has been used is based on World Bank estimates of natural capital, which are valued as proportional to current rents, and thus also endogeneous. Furthermore, their results may suffer from omitted variables bias, weakness of the instruments, violation of exclusion restrictions and misspecification error. Correcting for these issues and instrumenting resource exports with values of proven reserves at the beginning of the sample period; there is no evidence for the resource curse either and subsoil assets are no longer significant. However, we provide evidence that resource dependence leads to more volatility and thus indirectly to worse growth prospects.

Keywords: resource curse; resource exports; resource rents; natural capital; subsoil assets; reserves; instrumental variables; volatility』

1. Introduction
2. How is the World Bank measure of natural capital constructed?
3. Can natural capital and subsoil assets really be viewed as truly exogenous variables?
4. Re-examining the natural resource curse with genuine data on subsoil assets
5. Volatility seems to be quintessence of the resource curse
6. Conclusion
Appendix 1
: Extraction costs and sustainability of natural resources
Appendix 2
: Description of data
Appendix 3
: Descriptive statistics