Capital accumulation and resource depletion: A hartwick rule counterfactual

Kirk Hamilton, Giovanni Ruta, Liaila Tajibaeva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


How much produced capital would resource-abundant countries have today if they had actually followed the Hartwick Rule (invest resource rents in other assets) over the last 30 years? We employ time series data on investment and rents on exhaustible resource extraction for 70 countries to answer this question. The results are striking: Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, and Gabon would all have as much produced capital as South Korea, while Nigeria would have five times its current level. A specific rule for sustainability - maintain positive constant genuine investment - is shown to lead to unbounded consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)517-533
Number of pages17
JournalEnvironmental and Resource Economics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the World Bank. The comments of Jean-Christophe Carret, Roberto Martin- Hurtado and two reviewers are gratefully acknowledged – the usual caveats apply. Funding by the Swedish International Development Agency is acknowledged with thanks.


  • Exhaustible resources
  • Hartwick rule
  • Sustainable development

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