Nonrenewable Resources: A Case for Persistent Fiscal Surpluses


Max Alier ; Martin D Kaufman

Publication Date:

March 1, 1999

Electronic Access:

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Disclaimer: This Working Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF.The views expressed in this Working Paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy. Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to further debate


This paper examines whether there is a case for temporary but persistent fiscal surpluses in economies heavily endowed with nonrenewable resources. It finds that there generally is a case. Fiscal surpluses permit replacing nonfinancial wealth with financial assets, the return on which increases public consumption possibilities of future generations for a constant across-generation tax burden. The more biased are a government’s preferences toward present generations, the lower will be the initial surpluses; the larger the finite endowment, the larger the initial surpluses. In a more general framework, including public investment, the proposition could be rephrased by replacing surpluses with stronger initial fiscal positions.


Working Paper No. 1999/044



Publication Date:

March 1, 1999



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