Investigating the Transmission Channels Behind Dutch Disease Effects: Lessons from Mongolia Using a CGE Model
39 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2017 Last revised: 8 Sep 2017
Date Written: September 6, 2017
This paper uses a computable general equilibrium model -- Maquette for Millennium Development Goal Simulations (MAMS) -- calibrated to Mongolia to investigate how the development of major mining projects leads to Dutch disease. The simulations suggest that the process is complex, with the relative strength of the different spending and resource movement channels determined by structural features of the economy, such as factor input needs of the mining sector and substitution elasticities, and how mineral windfalls are eventually spent. In Mongolia, mining sector demand for domestic factor inputs explains two-thirds of the appreciation of the real exchange rate, with demand for labor, a "quasi-fixed" factor, the most potent channel for transmitting Dutch disease. The simulations also suggest that public policies may only play a limited role in limiting Dutch disease, even if growing fiscal revenues are channeled toward productivity-enhancing public investment rather than public consumption or lower taxes. This finding suggests that policy makers face real trade-offs, namely that, as an equilibrium response, Dutch disease is unavoidable and at odds with an export-led, manufacturing-oriented development strategy unless resources are left in the ground (or mining earnings are saved abroad). If the objective is to limit Dutch disease, then the simulations point to policies that minimize the usage of domestic inputs by the mining sector, or that accommodate the growing demand for key inputs such as labor e.g. through immigration. Regarding spending, policy makers should channel mining revenues toward public investment, to expand the economy's long-run supply potential. Where large direct income flows from the mining sector to households are important, monetary policy may be more useful than fiscal policy in constraining private spending.
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