Economic Determinants of Multilateral Environmental Agreements

By Tibor Besedeš (Georgia Institute of Technology), Erik P. Johnson (Carthage College), and Xinping Tian (Hunan University) Multilateral environmental agreements come in many flavors. Between 1950 and 2012 over 1100 such agreements have been negotiated between countries. These agreements cover a variety of issues including newer concerns such as global warming and climate change as […]

Growth, Import Dependence, and War

By Roberto Bonfatti (University of Nottingham) and Kevin Hjortshøj O’Rourke  (University of Oxford) World trade has increased tremendously in recent decades, driven by the rise of China and other emerging economies. The reliance of world trade on choke points (such as the Strait of Hormuz, the Malacca Strait and the South China Sea) creates the need for […]

Weather Shocks, Natural Disasters, and Economic Outcomes

The ‘new weather-economy literature’ applies panel methods to examine how weather-related events such as temperature, precipitation and windstorms affect economic outcomes such as output, labor productivity and conflict.  By capturing exogenous variation in weather related events over time within a given spatial unit, the literature helps inform classic issues of economic development and especially the […]

Political Economy of Agricultural Policy

The 2008 world food price spikes lead to conflict between the World Bank and food exporters.  Motivated by the prospect of food shortages, food exporting countries responded to the food price spikes by restricting their exports just at the time when countries already experiencing a shortage were looking to the world market for relief.  In […]

Natural Resources and Political Stability

There is increasing interest in how natural resources influence political stability. Under a dictatorial regime, political stability is determined by the ability of a ruling group to stay in power. If political power is the route to personal riches by the appropriation of natural resource income, remaining in power is that much more attractive. As […]

Renewable Resources

Greater use of renewable energy is considered a key component to fight climate change and is now a policy priority for the governments of developed countries in particular.  The new agenda on renewable energy is also of interest to developing countries since they are more likely to experience the adverse consequences of climate change. Bryce, […]

International Trade and Conflict

The availability of natural resources can directly affect the prospects of growth of a nation and their geographic distribution is uneven across and within countries. On one hand this can create opportunities for international trade between resource scarce and resource rich countries or, at the national level, generate revenues to be invested in development projects. […]

Are Natural Resources a Curse for Developing Countries?

Paradoxically, for developing countries the abundance of natural resources can be a curse. With the lack of property rights protection and rule of law, natural resource abundance contributes to political instability, conflict, and corruption. From the perspective of international trade they can cause the so called ‘Dutch disease,’ whereby a natural resource discovery triggers exchange […]