Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 3666–3674 | Cite as

How does natural resource dependence affect public education spending?

  • Hua-ping SunEmail author
  • Wei-feng Sun
  • Yong Geng
  • Xi Yang
  • Bless Kofi Edziah
Research Article


The “resource curse” phenomenon has been the subject of extensive research, with its causes and transmission mechanisms primarily examined from the perspectives of economic development and rent seeking. Education is a major factor contributing to economically sustainable development, owing to its potential for improving cognition and skill levels and thereby enhancing worker productivity. The crowding-out or crowding-in effect of natural resource dependence on public education spending has been identified as one of the key mechanisms of the resource curse or blessing. Using panel data from 31 Chinese provinces, this empirical study revealed a positive correlation between natural resource dependence and public education expenditure, demonstrating the impact of the crowding-in effect, exerted by natural resource dependence, on public education expenditure. Abundant natural resources can provide funds for education expenditure. The sample was further divided into eastern and central and western regions. The results indicate that the crowding-out effect of natural resource dependence only affects public education expenditure in the Eastern region, while the crowding-in effect of natural resource dependence on public education expenditure in the central and western regions. Research shows that the regional differences of crowding-out or crowding-in effect are very obvious, so the government should adopt transfer payment to promote balanced regional development. Better economic and social policies will help to translate wealth from natural resources into economic growth. Thus, a “resource blessing” may emerge to replace the “resource curse.” Fairly distributed and higher quality education will enhance human capital, thereby promoting economic growth from its current resource-driven pattern to a knowledge-driven pattern.


Natural resource dependence Public education spending Resource curse Crowding-in effect 



The authors appreciate the valuable comments of the anonymous referees. The English in this document has been checked by at least two professional editors, both native speakers of English.

Funding information

The authors are grateful for the financial support provided by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 71810107001, 71774071, 71690241, 71573121, 71473233), the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (No. 2016M601568), the Soft Science Project in Zhenjiang (YJ2018004), the Young Academic Leader Project of Jiangsu University (No. 5521380003), and the Education Science Research Project of Shanxi (GH-16082).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Industrial EconomicsJiangsu UniversityZhenjiangChina
  2. 2.School of Environmental Science and EngineeringShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Department of Economics and ManagementYuncheng UniversityYunchengChina

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