Economics models are false and so government should ignore their predictions. Explain, discuss and evaluate the accuracy of this statement.
Price Elasticity – Economics models are the tools which economists use to predict future economic developments by measuring past relationships among variables such as household income, consumer spending, employment, interest rates, tax rates etc. and forecasting how changes in some of these variables will affect other variables. An economic model is said to be complete if it can accurately forecast many of the variables future course, however, no economic model can be complete in true sense. There are several forces outside the model that affect the calculation and forecasting of variables. There are two ways by which these outside factors affect the forecasting and economic predictions. The input errors are concerned with inaccurate assumption of outside variables and model errors which explains the deviation of the equation of economic model from the assumption to the actual. Hence, it can be said that economic models are subjective approximations of reality and are designed to explain the observation. Therefore, the model’s predictions should be moderated so that it can accommodate the effect of random data variables (Deming, 2000).
Many researchers believe that economic theories and models simply provide ways to look at systems and determine how changes in variables affect the overall outcome. It also explains advantages and disadvantages of various economic models and systems. However, predictions and subsequent policy decisions are made after following value judgement of policymakers or the government. Therefore, the government should view at economic model only as a framework which provide insight of a contextual theory. More empirical evidence and real life economic parameters should be considered while making policy decisions based on economic predictions (Godley & Lavoie, 2006).
No economic model can perfectly predict the real future. A good example of the economic model’s failure is to predict the reasons for the global financial crisis of 2008. The prevailing economic model was deficient to provide sufficient attention towards the relationship between demands, wealth, and excessive financial risk taking. There were considerable research which had been conducted to uncover the same and also a new behavioural equation was added to the existing economic models. The true test of the new model will happen when it will effectively flag financial risk levels that would need a precautionary policy change. This is an ongoing process which consist of constructing, testing, and revising models and outside forces so that economists and policymakers can predict the future course of economy (Taylor, 2009).
Government neither can overlook economic models’ forecasts nor make predictions completely based on them. It has also been seen that economists seem to put aside political factors outside their equation. Politics among other outside factors is the most important factor that helps to determine the outcome of economic policy. In view of these analysis, it is suggested to use structural models which makes several “what if” economic analysis on several input combinations. In this way, the policymakers would have substantial information on various numerical variables and the forecast can be recalculated whenever required (Diermeier, Eraslan & Merlo, 2003).
Identify estimates of the price elasticity of demand for at least three different products
The “law of demand” suggests that the higher the price of a good, the lesser demand from consumers. This is the fundamental law of all economic models to predict the economic forecasts. In order to predict consumer behaviour in more details, economists use several techniques which evaluate the sensitivity of consumers’ demands with respect to changes in price. The most commonly used technique is known as “price elasticity of demand”. In simple terms, it is the proportionate change in demand given a change in price. For example, if a one unit decline in the price of a product produces a one unit increase in demand for that product, the price elasticity of demand is said to be one (Green, Malpezzi & Mayo, 2005).
Numerous studies suggest that the majority of consumer goods and services falls in the price elasticity of between .5 and 1.5. Essential products to everyday living, which have fewer substitutes, typically have lower elasticity for example, staple foods. Since, staples such as cereals are necessities in the diet, and are usually cheaper so that people safeguard their income for spending on such essentials when prices increase. Furthermore, lower income households tend to have higher price elasticity for food items than high income households. As food products occupies a large share of total income in these households, price changes have a substantial impact on the allocation of budget. On the other hand, magnitude of the elasticity for animal source foods such as fish, meat and dairy are higher than staple cereals as these are considered as luxury food items and there are always many substitutes available for consumption of these food choices (Andreyeva, Long & Brownell, 2010).
Goods with many substitutes, or are considered luxuries as are not essential, or whose purchase can be easily postponed, have higher elasticity. For example, the demand of automobile is considered as elastic as there are three kind of substitution takes place. In response of a unit price change, consumer of a new car can delay the purchase, or can choose to purchase another category of car or chose not to buy a new car and use another mode of transport. Furthermore, in case of buying a particular model of car, it would be highly elastic demand as there will be a lot of substitutes. On the other hand, demand for cars in rural areas would be inelastic over the longer run. Because there are very few alternative mode of transports available (Parry, Walls & Harrington, 2007).
Another example can be taken from health care services, where the demand for health care expenditure is found to be price inelastic. A range of price elasticity estimates it to be -0.17, which means that a one unit increase in the price of health care will lead to a 0.17 unit reduction in health care expenditures. Moreover, the demand for health care is also found to be income inelastic as it is in the range of 0 to 0.2. The positive sign of the elasticity suggests that there will be increase for health care demand as income increases, however the low magnitude of the elasticity indicates that the demand response would be relatively very small (Duarte, 2012).
Andreyeva, T., Long, M. W., & Brownell, K. D. (2010). The impact of food prices on consumption: a systematic review of research on the price elasticity of demand for food. American journal of public health, 100(2), 216-222.
Deming, W. E. (2000). The new economics: for industry, government, education. MIT press.
Diermeier, D., Eraslan, H., & Merlo, A. (2003). A structural model of government formation. Econometrica, 71(1), 27-70.
Duarte, F. (2012). Price elasticity of expenditure across health care services. Journal of health economics, 31(6), 824-841.
Godley, W., & Lavoie, M. (2006). Monetary economics: an integrated approach to credit, money, income, production and wealth. Springer.
Green, R. K., Malpezzi, S., & Mayo, S. K. (2005). Metropolitan-specific estimates of the price elasticity of supply of housing, and their sources. The American Economic Review, 95(2), 334-339.
Parry, I. W., Walls, M., & Harrington, W. (2007). Automobile externalities and policies. Journal of economic literature, 45(2), 373-399.
Taylor, J. B. (2009). The financial crisis and the policy responses: An empirical analysis of what went wrong (No. w14631). National Bureau of Economic Research.
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Discuss the macroeconomic effects of negative official interest rates. What relevance, if any, do the macroeconomic models have in explaining this phenomenon and predicting its likely consequences?
The negative interest rate is a recent phenomenon emerged from the global financial crisis in 2008. The negative official interest rate has become worldwide phenomenon and a part of policy initiatives by central banks around the world (Collignon, 2012) to deal with the problems of low rate of economic growth, massive unemployment and disinflation by injecting some easy money in search of some viable solution for economic recovery.
The interest rate is most crucial variable for financial industry as it has widespread effects on share prices, exchange rate and income distribution between exporting firms and consumers. IMF (2012) has mentioned the negative effects on insurance and savings in form of pension funds and financial stability is threatened in case of persistent negative interest rates. This policy can have negative consequences for growth and independence of central banks in the hands of irresponsible government decisions (White, 2012).
Money market suffers as important intermediaries like money market funds could be compelled out of business because of lost profitability that shift the interest of investors to more profitable market oriented business.
The consumers also suffer from negative interest rate in form of high global commodity prices. The reason behind this phenomenon is the changing interest and speculative behaviour of investors into high yielding assets like oil and food. The increased inflation rate results in lower purchasing power of consumers that hindered the economic recovery (Belke et al., 2010).
The negative interest rate dampen saving as it encourage people to spend more rather to save, this has long term negative effects for the people who are dependent on interest income. On the other hand the savings are not properly used for investment because of deteriorating investment efficiency.
The benefit of low interest rate includes the increasing capacity of banks to lend as a major problem the banks faced during the financial crisis was undercapitalization that restricted their capacity to make loans for recovery.
The negative interest rate can increase the wealth of households in form of higher asset prices and lower the capital cost for making investments but at the same time it gives rise to additional borrowing that increases the debt levels.
Negative interest rates can be explained in terms of Keynes theory of interest rate and theory of speculative demand for money. According to Keynes the equilibrium interest rate is the rate that equates money supply and money demand. Keynes began by asking “why an individual would hold any money above the needed for transaction and precautionary motives when bonds pay interest and money does not.” Keynes believed that such an additional demand for money exists because of uncertainty about future interest rates and the relationship between changes in the interest rate and the price of bonds. As there is an inverse relation between bond price and interest rate, Keynes speculative demand for money is the money held in anticipation of a fall in bond prices and a rise in interest rates (Froyen, 2005).
Here we observe a phenomenon of liquidity trap. It is the situation at a very low interest rate where the speculative demand for money schedule becomes nearly horizontal as shown in figure.
One implication of negative interest rates could be the liquidity trap which can lead to deep recession with deflation. It can be explained with the help of an example. In the 1990s, the interest rate in Japan was the lowest in the world and in 1998 the interest rate on Japanese six month treasury bills turned slightly negative. In such a situation Japan experienced prolonged recession accompanied by deflation which is the negative inflation rate (Mishkin, 2007). Usually it is believed that the low interest rates are a good thing because they make borrowing cheaper. But the case of Japan shows that low and negative interest rates were a sign that Japanese economy was in real trouble with falling prices and contracting economy.
Secondly, it is not attractive for the lenders to lend below 0%, as that will guarantee a loss, and a bank offering a negative deposit rate will find few takers, as savers will instead hold cash.
Countries like Denmark and Sweden introduced negative interest rates in recent years on temporary basis. In Denmark the purpose of adopting negative interest rate was to limit an unwanted rise in its currency. For this they moved to negative deposit rates. It did not cause any financial meltdown nor did it cause any noticeable change in the interest rate charged by banks for bank loans. Recently, European Central Bank has adopted the negative interest rates of -0.1% on Eurozone banks to encourage them to lend to small firms rather than to hoard cash. It is meant to boost the economy by increasing the lending to consumers and businesses.
Consequences of adopting Negative Interest Rates
This development can have unpredictable consequences. Those consequences may include the possibility that banks will pass on to customers the costs for depositing money with the ECB.
Also the negative return on keeping funds with the central bank might encourage banks to invest in riskier assets to secure a return.
As an alternative investment, banks may increase their purchases of government bonds and it would have potentially serious consequences if banks are holding bonds to such an extent that government borrowing costs are artificially low. If a financial shock occurs, the banks and governments could find themselves so intertwined and interdependent that they drag each other and the economy down.
Belke, A., Bordon, I. G., & Hendricks, T. W. (2010) ‘Global Liquidity and Commodity Prices–a Co-integrated VAR Approach for OECD Countries’. Applied Financial Economics, 20(3), 227-242.
Collignon, S. (2012) ‘Fiscal policy Rules and the Sustainability of Public Debt in Europe’. International Economic Review, 53(2), 539-567.
Writing an economics dissertation can prove to be a tough task and quality economics dissertation topics are hard to come by. The dissertation in hand allows you to investigate your ability for, and interest in doing economic research. Economics is not the easiest of subjects but it is one of the most interesting. Economics touches nearly every aspect of business and economic theory has been taught for centuries. Economics is seen as the analysis of production, consumption, distribution of wealth and allocation of limited resources to satisfy the needs of people and business. Nowadays, economics extends across national boundaries in the form of international business and global fiscal policy; this is noticeable with the formation of the European Union and flow of international finance.
Your economics dissertation is likely to be the biggest project you undertake at university or college. It can consist of anything between 10,000 to 15,000 words for a typical undergraduate dissertation and will involve in-depth research, time and dedication, you must organize your own time effectively in order to make it a success and set realistic goals. Here we have given a few thoughts and some advice on planning, researching and writing your dissertation. You will see a list of economics dissertation topics further on in this post.
Before you begin your economics dissertation, you must decide on an appropriate economics dissertation topic and title. Your dissertation should focus on a specific issue try to avoid generalizing as you may write a fragmented and disjointed piece of research. The topic should be interesting, something that can uphold in-depth research.
Choosing an economics dissertation topic and getting started
What is your topic question?
Do you have adequate background research?
Stay focused on it
In previous posts, I always stress to keep the research up to date and to engage the reader. There is no real benefit in writing an economics dissertation on outdated theory or defunct policy.
Choose a topic from an area you are familiar and comfortable writing about. Remember that this is a large project that will keep you engaged for most of your final year. It is advisable to revisit topics you have already covered on your degree as this may lead you to elaborate and base your dissertation on a project you have already completed. Writing your economics dissertation will be the ideal opportunity for you to use your intellect, skills, creativity, and economics training.
Economics Dissertation Advice
For empirical papers: Where will you get your data? How will it help answer your question?
What statistical techniques will you be able to use? Will you be able to identify causation or only correlation?
Theory papers typically are not just informal discussions. They tend to involve more mathematics than empirical ones, not less.
If you are having trouble understanding a topic, a good place to start is to look in several relevant textbooks to see how they handle it.
Economics is a specialized and scientific subject that involves equations, mathematics, figures and tables, economic theory is often underpinned by statistics and you need to be mindful of this. The field of economics differs vastly from other business subjects such as marketing, strategy and information management. These subject areas tend not to rely heavily on statistics or equations to strengthen findings and recommendations.
Below is a list of economics dissertation topics that will help you
The Impact of the Oil and Gas Sector on the Qatar Economy
Oil and Gas Sector Qatar
Qatar has become a dominant player on a global front, and its economy continues to grow at an alarmingly fast rate; it has seen a large influx of expatriates to the country because of the attractive remuneration packages on offer and the tax free environment that is available to the labor market. In addition the acceleration of growth seen in the Qatari economy is not solely due to the attractive remuneration and tax environment, but a number of other factors exist, such as the presence of large organizations, flexible trade policies, government supported initiatives and influences as well as cross border collaboration with other nations and companies that has intensified the growth of Qatar’s economy.
The production, distribution and sale of oil and gas are one of the fundamental factors that have seen Qatar and its economy develop from a frontier market status to an emerging market status. Petroleum is the cornerstone of Qatar’s economy and accounts for more than 70% of total government revenue. Paramount to this is the volume of gas which places Qatar as the third largest provider of Gas in the world today, and the richest Muslim country globally.
It is commonly becoming a place to build and implement businesses and successful partnerships and furthermore, the wealth Qatar has is in abundance which has enabled the economy of Qatar to flourish under the stewardship and vision of the Qatar emir and its government. Its economic freedom in the 2012 index was rated at 71.3 which places Qatar at 25 in terms of the freest economy of the world, and this shows the strides made by the country as a whole, however this can largely be attributed to the wealth generated from oil and gas productions, which is the largest contributor to the Qatari economy.
While Qatar has made significant progress in laying the institutional groundwork for sustained and diversified economic growth, the volatility of commodity prices, particularly during recent economic woes seen across the world which continues to undermine macroeconomic stability. Restrictions on foreign investment still exist and considerable state involvement in the economy is serious drags on generating more vibrant economic drive.
Justification of the Study
There is a lot of literature on the impacts of oil and gas on the economy of Qatar. However, most of this literature has not taken an all-round examination of the role and impact of oil and gas on the economy of Qatar. An examination of this literature shows a high inclination to the attractive economic effects of oil and gas revenue but they have paid little attention to the negative impacts of over reliance on oil and gas and its role in the current economic climate in the country.
These literature have also paid minimal attention to other factors that have contributed to the economy and the impact of globalisation. Because of this, they have been less reliable on making policy recommendations on economic diversification as a way of responding to volatility of oil prices and the global shift towards green energy supply in order to ensure a continuously high economic growth. The country also has to begin setting up economic projects that will sustain its economy, especially after the exhaustion of its oil and gas reserves. This literature gap provides the rationale for this research. Although it pays a special attention to the oil and gas industry, this research makes a whole round examination of the Qatar economy and out of this, it will make an evaluation of the role of oil and gas companies in improving the economy of Qatar.
Objectives and Nature of the Study
This study will critically evaluate and assess the role and impact of the oil and gas industries within Qatar on its economy. In doing so, the study will focus on current economic climate and analyse the key factors which contribute to the economic growth which has been evident over the last several years. The study will make a strategic evaluation of the Qatari economy examining the benefits and drawbacks of reliance upon oil and gas companies and more importantly looking at the influence of globalization on Qatar’s economy.
To assess the impact of oil and gas sector on the Qatari economy
This section of the paper contains brief summaries of the existing literature surrounding the role and impact of the oil and gas industries within Qatar on its economy and other factors that have facilitated or contributed to this the economic growth of the country.
Economic Landscape of Qatar
Qatar has flourished under the strong stewardship of the Al -Thani family and the support of the government has enabled Qatar to build and strengthen the economy of Qatar. During the recent financial crisis where many countries and governments struggled to maintain control and control spiraling debt Qatar seemed protected from such adversity, and in 2011 Qatar had the highest growth rate. Qatar’s economic policy has been focused on developing its vast oil and natural gas reserves with considerable success. The economy has seen unprecedented growth but this has largely been due to the focus and revenue generated from the oil and gas sector Qatar.
Globalization in Qatar
Globalization has encouraged and seen flexible trade among nations and also allowed emerging economies such as Qatar to prosper as it has enabled various distribution channels to be accessed. Without sufficient access to global channels or investment from foreign investors, the economy of Qatar would remain stagnant with low growth rate and a sufficiently weak economy. According to Mankiw et al (2011), international trade allows economies to achieve economies of scale, build strong relationships and more importantly, develop trade policies and practices which assist the economy.
Qatar, having reduced restrictions to some degree with respect to the investment of foreign investors, has increased its position as a leading oil and gas provider. More importantly, it has allowed Qatar to develop other aspects of its infrastructure away from the production and distribution of oil and gas. Globalization in Qatar can also be seen through the expatriate workforce, who account for almost 75% of the Qatari population, and the skills and knowledge of these individuals has allowed Qatar and its economy to benefit from sharing of best practices and gained knowledge.
Oil and Gas Companies
As mentioned in earlier parts of this chapter, the oil and gas industry in Qatar is by far the largest contributor of revenue, with almost 70% generated through this industry. The money is reinvested within the Qatari economy, with a number of objectives the government has set such as development of the infrastructure in Qatar and the knowledge base. Money is also reinvested to develop and improve other business sectors particularly the reinsurance and asset management sectors. As discussed oil and gas is a large contributor of revenue and is one of the key drivers for the Qatari economy, (Miller et al, 2011) however the volatility of oil prices, and the global focus of shifting towards more greener energy supply is likely to impact the economical standing and strength of Qatar.
Impact of Oil and Gas Industry on Qatari Economy
The exploitation of oil and gas fields in Qatar begun in 1940 and since then, the oil and gas industry has had a huge impact on the economy of Qatar. Generally, the oil and gas industry has led to the attainment of a stable economic prosperity in the country. First, it has removed Qatar out of the ranks of the poorest countries in the world. Before this, it was a poor pearl fishing nation. In relation to this, the industry has also helped to speed the economic development in the country and in 2010, Qatar was experiencing the highest growth rate in the world. This economic boost has mainly been experienced since the dramatic increase in oil and gas revenues in 1973 and the completion of first phase of the North Field gas development. This phase alone cost $1.5-billion.
This positive and accelerated economic growth in Qatar has been recorded even in the times of global financial crisis. During such times, the country experiences a rebounding of its economy due to the increased oil prices as opposed to non-oil producing countries that have to spend extra money to avail oil and gas for driving their economies. The oil and gas industry can therefore be said to provide a shield on the Qatar economy against the effects of global financial crisis. It is undeniable that the oil and gas industry is the backbone of Qatar’s economic development. This industry accounts for over 50% of the country’s GDP, about 85% of export earnings, and 70% total government revenues (Miller et al 2011).
The oil and gas industry has provided Qatar with one of the leading per capita incomes globally. Currently, Qatar has the second largest per-capita income in the world. The per capita income for 2009 was $80,000. This rose to $90,000 in 2010 and to $102,700 in 2011. The GDP for these years were $131.2 billion, $153 billion and $181.7 billion in for years 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively. Their GDP growth rates were 12%, 16.6% and 18.7 % respectively (CIA world fact book 2012).
The oil and gas industry has also helped to reduce the unemployment rates in Qatar and currently, Qatar is one of the countries with the low unemployment rates. Unemployment rates in 2009 stood at 0.5% and remained constant through 2010. However, this figure dropped to 0.4% in 2011. Inflation rates in Qatar have been reduced mainly because of the increased government revenues from the oil and gas industry and in 2011, this figure was 2.8%. this has led to a decrease in the number of people living below poverty line. The Industries Qatar (IQ) is the second largest producer of chemicals in Middle East. The largest is Saudi Arabia’s Basic Industries Organisations.
The huge revenues from the oil and gas industry have provided sufficient capital for the establishment of heavy industrial projects in Qatar. These include refinery, fertilizer plant for ammonia and urea, petrochemical plant and a steel plant. These projects are based in Umm Said and they benefit directly from gas fuel extracted in the country. The development of industries has provided a means of diversifying the economy. Revenues from oil and gas have been critical in enhancing the development of other economic sectors like tourism, transport, education among others. Through these revenues, the government of Qatar has been able to boost its educational sector and this has reduced the reliance on foreign expatriates who are expensive to maintain.
Overall, the improved government and household income has led to a significant increase in the number of Qataris who attain higher education and those that are foreign-educated. These individuals have occupied the key positions that used to be occupied by the highly paid expatriates. This has had a positive impact in reducing national expenditure. Because of the stable income from oil and gas export, there have been sufficient funds for facilitating the growth of the tourism industry through the funding of the various activities and plans of the Qatar Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (QTEA). This has led to an increase in the number of tourists received in the country and thus revenue from tourism.
The government has also been able to expand the New Doha international airport and this is important in increasing the country’s economic growth by accommodating a larger number of passengers, especially tourists, as well as some economic commodities. Still on transport, revenues from oil and gas have helped to improve regional connectivity between Qatar and, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia through the multibillion-dollar Qatar Bahrain Causeway and the Doha Expressway. This has resulted to increased regional trade between Qatar and these countries. Others include extensive bus and rail transport that are important for facilitating a smooth running of the various economic activities like transport of human resources, raw materials or finished products to the target markets or export points.
Key Factors Driving Economies
An economy comprises of the economic systems of an area; its land resources, capital, manufacturing, production, trade, distribution, consumption patterns and labor. A country’s economy results from the activities and mechanisms that result from its technological know-how, demographic factors, geography, utilization of natural resources and history (Stretton 1999). These factors contribute to the environment, content and principles upon which the given economy operates. A market based economy may be looked at as a limited social network where exchange of goods and services takes place based on the demands and supply between the economic agents i.e. a medium of exchange where credit and debit values are accepted in a given network. Labor and capital are the only free economic systems that can move free in search of higher profits, interests, dividends, interests, benefits and compensations. Land resource is fixed.
For an economy to be sustainable, the key drivers of its growth include, per-capita income, opens to trade, channelization of investment and deregulation (Stretton 1999). Per capita income or income per person refers to the measure of a population’s resources within a given nation or country in comparison to other nations. It involves taking the sources of income such as gross national income and then dividing it by the total population. Commonly, an international currency is used for calculation of GDP which produces accurate statistics for comparison. It’s not aimed at determining wealth or resource distribution of a nation but a measurement of success (Stretton 1999). Per capita income does not result to monetary income because income over time needs to account for change in prices. Another weakness is that there can be discrepancies on international comparisons caused by differences in living standards between nations that are not reflected on exchange rates.
Demographics refers to information that shows he populations composition on a given area. This information comprises of age, gender, income, race, population growth and migration patterns. These factors determine the price of commodities, demand and supply phases. Changes in demographics can have significant impact on the market trends of a nation. Investors need to analyze the demand and supply effects. Changes in interest rates can influence a person’s ability of purchasing an item since, if the interest rates fall, the mortgages of buying a house for example decreases and increases the demand for the house. When the interest rates rise, the mortgage increases, lowering the demand for the house.
Investment channelization affects the economy in that, if people have invested in buildings, there is sensitivity to economic activities due to the type of lease structure inherent in the business (Stretton 1999). Structures are bound to be demolished any time especially if they are located on public land. On the same note, buildings located on non-strategic business ventures are likely to yield less profits in terms of rent compared to those that are strategically located. People should be advised to invest on appreciating resources such as land as opposed to depreciating resources.
Employment is another key economic determining factor. Employed persons contribute to the economy through tax payment (Stretton 1999). Employment also improves the living standards of people in a given population. Openness to trade is determined by factors such as communication patterns between nations, political stability and history of a nation in terms of trading patterns. Communication strengthens business relations between nations. Political stability ensures freedom of movement and security in conducting trade activities.
The Key Factors Driving the Qatari Economy
EconomyWatch (2010) reports that Qatar is one of the fastest growing economies across the globe and has surpassed countries like Turkmenistan and Singapore according to 2010 economic survey 2010. The survey revealed that by 2010, Qatar’s real domestic product (GDP) growth rate stood at 19.4 percent. Its economic growth has been consistent since 2008 in which it I ranked among the top three world’s fastest growing economies. In fact, economists believe foresee the growth to continue by double-digits in the coming years. The growth is attributed to by many factors among them being producer of oil and natural gasses.
EconomyWatch (2010) argues that the growth in Qatar’s economy has mainly been spurred by the fact that it has abundant oil and natural gas. For instance, it is estimated that natural gas and oil industries contributes 50 percent of the gross domestic product, with 85% of the export earnings and the other 70% being revenue. 2010 statistics show that 76.98 billion cubic meters of natural gas was produced in Qatar which accounts for an average of 1.213 million barrels of oil production daily. Qatar also ranks among the world’s top exporters of oil. This has helped in increasing economic growth based on the fact that there is high demand for oil and constant increase in prices globally.
The other factor that has spurred economic growth in Qatar is the country’s economic diversification efforts (Oxford Business Group 2009 p.42). EconomyWatch (2010) argues that since the economic down turn experienced in Qatar in 1980s and 90s, the government has ensured that the country reduces over-reliance on natural gas and oil for economic growth ensuring that it expands the country’s service sectors such as tourism and finance industries. For instance, Qatar’s financial centre built in 2005 is a state-of-the art business and financial centre that serves major multi-national companies and international financial service organizations. This has contributed a lot to Qatar’s economic growth. With regard to tourism sectors, the country has good infrastructural facilities, ranging from good roads, hotels, and natural sceneries developed to attract tourism has contributes largely to its economic growth. The fact that it has good infrastructural facilities is what led to its successful bid to host 2022 world cup. This has also increased its global profile thus increasing tourist’s influx (Oxford Business Group 2009 p.42-88).
Qatar’s industry sectors are also another factor that has contributed considerably to its economic growth. Apart from gas and oil industries, Qatar also has other industries such as steel, fertilizer and petrochemical industries. The government in partnership with private sectors has maintained a positive growth in all this industries. For instance, Industries Qatar (IQ) ranks second largest chemical producer in the Middle East just behind Basic industry organizations in Saudi Arabia. EconomyWatch 2010 survey reports that Qatar ranked among the world’s fastest growing in terms of industries in 2010, rising by 27.1% in from the preceding year. The trend has continued to grow. Thus it is one of the major factors that contribute a lot to the economic growth in Qatar.
The growth in Qatar’s economy is also attributed to the fact that the country has invested a lot in foreign countries (Oxford Business Group 2009 p.42-88. The money recouped back from such investments is used in the development of the country’s economic stimulus such as education sectors, health and other social facilities. The country also trade a lot with other countries like Japan. This has spurred a lot its economic growth. For instance, EconomyWatch (2010) Japan was the largest export partner of Qatar which accounted for 34.68 percent of all exports from Qatar. This was followed by South Korea, Singapore and India.
The other factor considered to contribute to the growth is the modest population in Qatar. The modest population has ensured that there is no strain in economic resources of the country. This is therefore a factor that has spurred its growth in GDP per capita.
Benefits and Drawbacks on Placing Reliance on Oil and Gas Revenues
Oil and gas are the main sources of revenue to the citizens. National wealth and revenues are mainly derived from oil and gas. As a major contributor to the national economy, oil and gas le ads to growth, development and good governance. However, oil and gas have brought several challenges to the national government. These challenges do not only include the problems of management of oil and gas resources and the taxation issues. The challenges also include the government’s ability to control resources, governance and accountability in the usage and distribution of the national revenues to all members of the country (Cordesan, 1997).
Another major challenge of relying on oil and gas is the ability to manage the environment. Unchecked oil and gas exploration and production leads to environmental de gradation. Crucial habitats for both plants and animals can be affected while producing oil. In addition, harmful gas emissions to the environment have led to global warming thus le adding to climate change. Current efforts have been channeled toward the production of energy through renewable sources of energy. Over reliability on gas and oil also reduces the chance of the coming generation in using the resource. With the increasing demand on oil and gas and the mass production, the coming generations are likely not to benefit from oil and gas in the coming few years. Investing in the renewable sources of energy is the best alternative to the usage of fossil fuels. Placing reliance on oil has also led to the decreased food production. Large tracts of land have been used in the exploration and production of oil and gas (Amuzegar, 2001).
Over-reliance in oil revenues leads to increased economic tax reliability. Other contributors to the economic sector have witnesses a decrease in the amount of taxes they can contribute to the national economy. The agricultural sector has not been such effective in contributing to the national economy. However, reliance on oil and gas revenues has led to faster economic growth in Qatar (Cordesan, 1997).
Due to the increasing rate of petroleum rents. The government has been able to decrease the amount of taxes levied on its citizens. Reduced levels of taxes ensure that the citizens enjoy larger part of their income without being highly taxed by the government. However, corruption among government officials has led to the loss of huge amount of national resources. Corruption ensures that citizens do not en joy the potential benefits of the revenues generated from oil (Amuzegar, 2001).
On the contrary, reliance on oil and gas may pose challenges to the government especially when the oil and gas are not in large amounts. Fossil fuels sources can be depleted due to its constant usage and over reliability. The government therefore needs to invest t in other contributors to the economy such as industries. This will ensure that oil and gas shortage commonly witnessed or the eminent depletion of sources lead to a crisis. Further, there has been lack of public accountability and the rampant corruption cases. This has led to fierce competition in the elective posts with competitors using violent means to deter their opponents from taking office. Politicians have continued to use state resources and facilities; there has also been the increased violation of human rights and harassments (Cordesan, 1997).
Trade barriers and the Impact on the Economy – oil and gas sector Qatar
Internally, Qatar maintains a number of trade barriers, which directly affect foreign investors willing to invest in the country. These barriers are mainly in form of import restrictions. First, the country is extra keen on the import of politically or religiously sensitive items and the Government of Qatar (GOQ) is expected to ban the import of such products. Just before the 1995 closure of the Arab Boycott of Israel Office which was located in Doha, the government of Qatar unilaterally deleted some giant foreign firms from the blacklist. This included some US corporations. Qatar has lifted the tertiary and secondary aspects of the boycott and the as a result, the Israeli Trade Representation Office was set up in Doha. However, in a brief statement, the government of Qatar announced that this office was officially closed. This was just before the opening of the Organization of Islamic Conference in November, 2000.
Qatar does not have import quotas. However, a number of non-tariff barriers which discourage investment and trade arise occasionally. For example, Qatar maintained a banned the importation of beef from the US from 2005 until mid-2008. International trade in Qatar is also restricted by cultural barriers. For example, the imports of pork products is totally prohibited in Qatar because of cultural reasons. The country is s strong Islamic state and the consumption of pork is totally prohibited by their religious values (Arnous 2011).
International Trade Within Qatar
Imports over the one past decade, Qatar has depended more on imports. These imports range from basic food commodities to consumer goods. Specific import goods include machinery, chemicals, and transport equipment. The Imports of goods is mainly dominated by Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) members namely US, UK, Japan, Italy, and Germany. Others include South Korea, Saudi Arabia, France, People’s Republic of China, and the United Arab Emirates. In 2010, the total import value for Qatar was $25.33 billion (CIA World Fact Book). Although Japan overtook the UK as Qatar’s chief machinery supplier, imports from the UK still account for an important percentage of Qatar’s imports. Overall, European Union (EU) is Qatar’s leading import trade partner. The value of Qatar imports doubled since 1990 as a result of improved purchasing power resulting from increased oil and gas sales and this peaked in 1999. Since the early 1990s, the capital gas and oil purchases have accounted for approximately 40% of the total import spending in Qatar (CIA World Fact Book). Unlike the export value, Qatar’s import value is consistent or predicable due to the large difference between its import and export values. Any one time, the country has sufficient money to fund its import trade. Oil and gas has therefore played an important role in maintaining a good import trade in Qatar.
The main export product in Qatar is crude oil. However, its dominance has begun declining over the recent years as a result of the increase in the export of Liquefied natural gas (LNGs). Crude oil accounts for about 56% of Qatar’s total exports and this reliance on crude oil has resulted to inconsistency in Qatar’s export bill (Miller, Agnes, & McBrewster 2010). This value has always fluctuated, to the positive and negative, as dictated by the global oil prices. Evidently, Qatar’s export revenues begun to surge beginning from 1999. in 1998 for example, export revenues were US$4.36 billion but this increased to US$6 billion in 1999 (CIA World Fact Book). Beginning this time, Japan has been the largest export partner, of Qatar. In 1998, exports to Japan alone accounted 58.1% of Qatar’s total export bill. 2010 estimates still places Japan as Qatar’s leading export partner and its trade value accounted for 30.3% of Qatar’s exports. Other important export partners for Qatar include South Korea (13.1%), India (8%), Singapore (7.7%), UK (4.2). Thailand and the US import from Qatar but on minimal levels compared to other export trade partners. Apart from exporting oil and LNG, Qatar also exports petroleum products, steel and fertilizers. In 2010, Qatar’s total export value was $104.3 billion (CIA World Fact Book). The substantial revenues from oil and gas have allowed Qatar to maintain a significant trade surplus. This has been efficient in shielding the country from trade imbalances.
Saunders et al. (2007) classify research approach into two main categories; deductive or inductive approaches. This research will use both approaches, as this study will analyse existing study and theories in relation to the subject. The study will rely on secondary data with sources including books, journals, government records, newspapers and reputable websites. Primary data will also be relied on with questionnaires being issued directly to respondents. Structured interviews will also be conducted with the aim of establishing certain facts in relation to the subject from an authority’s point of view.
In relation to the study, a sample of 20 respondents will be used for the study. A random sample will be drawn from a population of nationals living in the capital city of Qatar. The sample will be drawn randomly at different parts of the city as they go about their businesses. Two respondents will be draw from 10 of the main and busiest streets of the city, one from each end of the street. The 10th person to pass by the researcher’s standing or sitting position moving toward the other end of the street will be taken as a sample.
Questionnaires will be constructed using pre-defined statements where the respondents will be asked to respond based on their level of agreement with the statement. The questionnaire will be based on the Likert style questionnaire. Specifically, a five-point Likert scale will be used to indicate the degree to which an individual respondent agrees or disagrees with statements. These will range from “strongly disagree’ at one end and at the extreme end, “strongly agree”.
Each participant will be required to complete the questionnaire presented in two languages: Arabic and English. This will help to reduce the effects of language variations and thus increase the reliability of the results. In addition interviews will also be used as an additional method of gathering data. With respect to supporting this study, the people selected for the interviews will be carefully chosen and will be selected based on their position and knowledge of the area of study. For this study, two interviewees will be considered. One interviewee will be a government official working in a ministry or department directly concerned with the harvesting and processing of oil and gas. The second interviewee will be a top official in a privately owned organization that deals with oil and gas. These personalities are chosen owing to the presumed rich knowledge of the gas and oil sector and its impact on the economy.
Once the data has been collected, it will be coded on SPSS software for analysis. In order to analyze the findings and results of the study, cross tabulation and descriptive statistics will be used to determine the absence or presence, and degree of association of a relationship between any combination/pair of variables that have been selected for analysis. This method will also allow an examination of the frequencies of responses or observations that fall into specific categories. A correlation coefficient will be calculated for the purpose of expressing the relationship that exists between any two variables.
The research does not deal with a subject that is personal and so it is unlikely to attract serious ethical issues. All the same, the research will take into consideration a number of ethical issues in its procedures. Among them is the protection of the private and statutory rights of the participants and the community being surveyed. One of the things that will be done in line with this is obtaining informed consent from the participants to avoid undue intrusion. No personal data of the respondents will be collected, and minors will not be engaged in the survey.
The research questions will be framed in a way that they will help to maintain public confidence in the entire research process. Qatar is a society that highly regards its cultural values such as human relations. Because of this, the participants, especially female participants, will be approached in a more sensitive manner to avoid suspicion, misunderstanding, or undue concerns. Any conflicting interest will also be identified and taken note of.
Amuzegar, J (2001) Managing the Oil Wealth: Opec’s Windfalls and pitfalls, New York, I.B Tauris.
CIA world fact book (2010) Qatar Economy 2012
Cordesan, A. (1997) Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and the UAE: Challenges of security. New York Westview press
Crystal, J. 1995. Oil and politics in the gulf: the merchants of Kuwait and Qatar, (1st Ed), Cambridge University Press. Cambridge.
Economist Intelligence Unit (2006) Qatar. Country Report, June 2006. Economist Intelligence Unit, London, UK.
EconomyWatch (2010) Qatar Economy
Government of Qatar, Planning Council (2006) Qatar 2025 Vision, Qatar, Government of Qatar
Mankiw, G. & Taylor, P. (2011) Economics, (2nd Ed), Nelson Education.
Miller, P., Agnes. F. & McBrewster, J (2010) Qatar: History of Qatar, Politics of Qatar, Municipalities of Qatar, Economy of Qatar, Geography of Qatar, (1st Ed), Alphascript Publishing.
Oxford Business Group (2009) The Report: Qatar 2009, Oxford, Oxford University Press.