Oil Discoveries and Protectionism: Role of News Effects

40 Pages Posted: 24 May 2019 Last revised: 26 Jan 2021

See all articles by Fidel Perez‐Sebastian

Fidel Perez‐Sebastian

Universidad de Alicante - Department of Economic Analysis

Ohad Raveh

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Rick van der Ploeg

University of Oxford

Date Written: January 26, 2021


Can oil discovery shocks affect the demand for protectionism? An intertemporal model of Dutch disease indicates that if the tradable sector is politically dominant then an oil discovery can induce protectionism. If the economy is also credit constrained, this effect is intensified upon discovery, but partially reversed when oil revenues start to flow. We test these predictions using 16.2 million, HS-6 level, bilateral tariff rates that cover 5,718 products in 155 countries over the period 1988-2012, and data on worldwide discoveries of giant oil and gas fields. Our identification strategy rests on the exogeneity of the timing of discoveries. Our empirical results indicate that an oil discovery increases tariffs during pre-production years and decreases tariffs in the years to follow yet to a lesser extent, most notably in capital scarce economies with a relatively dominant tradable sector. Our baseline estimates indicate that a giant oil field discovery induces a rise of approximately 13% in the average tariff over the course of 10 years; this increase is approximately 2.5 times larger during the pre-production period when the oil discovery represents a pure news shock.

Keywords: Oil discoveries, protectionism, capital scarcity, Dutch disease, political economy, trade policy, news shocks

JEL Classification: Q32, F13, O24

Suggested Citation

Perez Sebastian, Fidel and Raveh, Ohad and van der Ploeg, Frederick, Oil Discoveries and Protectionism: Role of News Effects (January 26, 2021). Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3379050 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3379050

Fidel Perez Sebastian

Universidad de Alicante - Department of Economic Analysis ( email )

03080 Alicante

Ohad Raveh (Contact Author)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905

Frederick Van der Ploeg

University of Oxford ( email )

Manor Road Building
Manor Road
Oxford, OX1 3BJ
United Kingdom

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