Natural resources endowment, international trade and convergence

Abstract : In this thesis, we examine the effect of the unequal distribution of natural resources between countries on three main aspects. In chapter one, we empirically examine potential asymmetric effects of the accession of the World Trade Organization (WTO) across members, focusing specifically on the developing countries. The results suggest that membership in the WTO contributed to greater exports for all countries, except for non-emerging resource-rich countries. In contrast, emerging resource-rich countries are the greatest beneficiaries from the accession of the WTO. In chapter two, we empirically explore the impact of natural resource endowments on the gains of six Regional Trade Agreements (RTA) across members through three axes: complementarity between countries, diversification of resource-rich countries, and trade creation and diversion. We conclude that the complementarity between resource-rich and resource-poor countries has been achieved in the ECOWAS, SADC and CIS agreements. The results also indicate that in all RTAs, the resource-rich countries increased exports in non-natural resource sectors and thereby diversified their export structures, especially with regional partners. Moreover, in most RTAs, poor countries boosted their exports to resources-rich partners, while resource-rich countries suffer from trade diversion in terms of imports. In the last chapter, we study the impact of natural resource endowments on the process of convergence among PAFTA countries. First, the results demonstrate that sigma-convergence was only observable between 1970-1990 among PAFTA countries. The estimation reveals that natural resources are one of the main determinants of conditional convergence within PAFTA. Therefore, the asymmetry between countries in terms of natural resource endowment did not impede the convergence in PAFTA. Club convergence analysis identify three main clubs among PAFTA countries. In addition, the factors that determined clubs’ formation are natural resources, quality of institutions, and investment. Further, an abundance of natural resources is alone not enough to be the best club, but must be accompanied by high-quality institutions.
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Louai Soukar. Natural resources endowment, international trade and convergence. Economics and Finance. Université de Bordeaux, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018BORD0160⟩. ⟨tel-02149487⟩

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