The Resource Curse Hypothesis in Lao Economy

Soukvisan Khinsamone


The purpose of this paper is to investigate the adaptability of the resource curse hypothesis for Lao economy. The study verifies the two crowding-out logics that resource abundance would crowd out manufacturing activities and/or savings and investment, by examining their causalities and impulse responses in a vector auto-regression (VAR) model estimation. The estimation outcomes implied the existence of the resource curse in Lao economy: resource production has crowded out manufacturing activities through real exchange rate appreciation, thereby causing the Dutch Disease; and resource production has not contributed significantly to capital accumulation, thereby being not consistent with Hartwick-rule. The study contributed to the literature by verifying two kinds of crowding-out logics on the resource curse by applying a VAR model: the crowding-out of manufacturing activities as a sectoral allocation, and the crowding-out of savings and investment as an intertemporal allocation. The study might also be valuable to the policy makers, since it proposed a strategy for transforming Lao economic structure from “resource curse” to “resource blessing” by setting up some institutional framework to allocate resource revenues to infrastructure development.

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