Dutch disease

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Dutch disease ( English Dutch disease ) is a national economic model that describes the negative effects of a boom in the commodities sector to the manufacturing sector.


Max Corden and J. Peter Neary designed a model of Dutch disease in 1982 and 1984, respectively, as follows:

The sale of raw materials (e.g. oil) increases export earnings. There is an increasing number of foreign currencies entering the country, the exchange of which can lead to a real appreciation of the domestic currency ( exchange rate mechanism ). This upgrading has the consequence that

  • Imports become cheaper, the import of goods grows as a result, which leads to an erosion of domestic non-raw material production (industry, agriculture)
  • Become more expensive exports, resulting in a deterioration of international competitiveness leads
  • a factor price increase results because the domestic production of factors (i.e. of manufactured goods or the payment of labor) also becomes more expensive - which, together with the increase in demand mentioned in the first point, leads to possibly considerable cost growth. This increase in costs also affects the industrial and agricultural sectors, resulting in additional sales problems.

In addition, the exploitation of raw materials often enables higher profits, so that a lot of capital flows into raw material extraction, while the industrial sector is neglected.

The rise in factor prices favors a migration of factors from the production of industrial and agricultural goods into the field of raw material extraction. If the extraction of raw materials is not very labor-intensive (such as oil or gas extraction), a migration to the area of ​​the production of non-tradable goods (especially services) is favored, because these are not so strongly affected by international competitive pressure. As a result, the degree of industrialization - measured in terms of the share of industrial production in total economic production of goods and services - can fall sharply or disappear.

The deterioration in international competitiveness results in sales problems for goods from the other exporting industries and an increased import of foreign goods. This leads to a decline or disappearance of branches of industry and thus to fundamental economic problems such as B. Unemployment .

The resource curse thesis, which goes beyond this, states that resource-rich economies grow less rapidly than resource-poor economies for various reasons.

Historical examples

The name Dutch disease comes from a phenomenon that was observed in the Netherlands in the 1960s. As a result of the discovery and exploitation of natural gas deposits, there was a shrinkage of the industrial sector. The main cause was the foreign trade surpluses generated by the natural gas business, which led to an appreciation of the Dutch currency via the exchange rate mechanism and thus to a deterioration in international competitiveness.

The silver fleet was assembled in the port city of Seville . Painting by Alonso Sánchez Coello (before 1588).

Another example of the Dutch disease is the Spanish Empire in the 16th century. At that time Spain had numerous colonies from which large amounts of gold and silver flowed into the mother country every year. This led to strong inflation ( price revolution ) in Spain , because at that time the currency regime of the gold currency dominated, the monetary value thus more or less corresponded to the material value of the coin and consequently depended on the gold price. Since gold first came into circulation in Spain, inflation was highest there. As a result, Spanish goods were more expensive than other European goods, which paralyzed export, while there was a great incentive to import goods into Spain. This weakened Spanish industry and agriculture.

“Spain is the living Instance of this Truth, the Mines of Peru and Mexico made the People think themselves above Industry, an Inundation of Gold and Silver swept away all useful Arts, and a total Neglect of Labor and Commerce has made them as it were the receivers only for the rest of the world. "

“Spain is living proof of this truth, the mines of Peru and Mexico made people believe they didn't need any industry, a flood of gold and silver washed away all useful skills, a total neglect of work and trade made it for them whole world to recipients. "

- erasmus philips : 1720

Another example is Australia around 1850 after gold was discovered .

A Latin American example of Dutch disease from the 2000s is oil exporter Venezuela . This is not the first time that the country has had problems. Since the discovery and beginning of industrial extraction in the 1910s, prosperity and political stability have stood and fallen with oil prices , which has determined the Venezuelan economic and social structure. Azerbaijan is another example .


According to Joseph Stiglitz , the Dutch disease can be avoided by not exchanging foreign currency equivalent to the current account surplus, but investing it abroad. This foreign exchange market intervention can prevent an appreciation of the domestic currency, which prevents a one-sided concentration on the booming economic sector (usually the raw materials sector). In addition, the country benefits from the returns on the capital invested. So does Norway , whose oil fund, founded in 1990, invests the direct income from oil production exclusively in foreign stocks, interest-bearing securities and real estate . Depending on the other economic circumstances, the local population has no understanding that foreign currency is not invested or consumed domestically. Nevertheless z. B. Azerbaijan has had such a policy since 2001.


  • Elkhan Richard Sadik-Zada: Oil Abundance and Economic Growth. Logos Verlag, Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-8325-4342-6 .
  • Dutch Disease. In: Erwin Dichtl, Ottmar Issing (ed.): Vahlens Großes Wirtschaftslexikon. Volume 1, 2nd edition. 1993, p. 480.
  • Marc Piazolo: Southern Africa - Prosperity through a wealth of raw materials? In: Jürgen Bähr, Ulrich Jürgens (eds.): Transformation processes in southern Africa - consequences for society and nature. Symposium in Kiel from October 29th to October 30th, 1999. Kiel 2000, pp. 155-172.
  • Robert Kappel: Economic Perspectives of Africa at the Beginning of the 21st Century: Structural Factors and Informality. In: Robert Kappel (Ed.): Afrikas Wirtschaftsperspektiven. Structures, reforms and tendencies. Hamburg 1999, p. 14.
  • Hans-Jürgen Burchardt : The economic policy of Bolivarianism - From the Dutch to the Venezuelan disease? In: Rafael Sevilla, Andreas Boeckh: Venezuela: The Bolivarian Republic . Horlemann Verlag, Bad Honeff 2005, pp. 173-189.
  • Andreas Boeckh: Venezuela: The painful transformation of an oil country. In: Andreas Boeckh, Peter Pawelka (eds.): State, market and pension in international politics . Opladen 1997, pp. 285-315.
  • Finn-Ole Wulf: Resources - a curse or a blessing for a developing country. Grin Verlag, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-656-35979-1 .

Individual evidence

  1. IMF working paper, Nienke Oomes and Katerina Kalcheva, Diagnosing Dutch Disease: Does Russia Have the Symptoms? , April 2007, p. 7
  2. Kappel 1999, p. 11.
  3. IMF working paper, Nienke Oomes and Katerina Kalcheva, Diagnosing Dutch Disease: Does Russia Have the Symptoms? , April 2007, pp. 5-6
  4. ^ A b c W. M. Corden: Booming Sector and Dutch Disease Economics: Survey and Consolidation . In: Oxford University Press (Ed.): Oxford Economic Papers . 36, No. 3, November 1984, pp. 359-380. JSTOR 2662669 .
  5. ^ A b Lars Magnusson, The Political Economy of Mercantilism, Routledge, 2015, E-book, ISBN 978-1-317-43980-6 , Chapter 3: Plenty and Power, Section: Spain.
  6. Burchardt 2005.
  7. Boeckh 1997.
  8. Slava Obodzinskiy: The Dutch disease using the example of Azerbaijan. E-book, Grin 2009, ISBN 978-3-640-74203-5 .
  9. ^ The investment strategy of the Government Pension Fund Global . In: The Management of the Government Pension Fund in 2013 . Norwegian Ministry of Finance, June 2014. ( Memento from December 2, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  10. Joseph Stiglitz: The opportunities of globalization. Siedler Verlag, 2010, ISBN 978-3-641-05130-3 , chapter 5.