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Capital Gains and Income Arising from Nonrenewable Resources

Taoyuan Wei

Should capital gains be included in income arising from nonrenewable resources? In the present paper, I show that capital gains from a nonrenewable resource can be divided into two terms: real price change effects and real interest rate change effects. By application of sectoral income theory developed by Asheim and Wei (Environ Res Econ 42:65–87, 2009), only the former term is part of real income of the resource and the latter term should not be included. This result is significant in the sense that all change in real resource wealth can be included as part of real income only if future real interest rates are assumed to be constant. Hotelling rule always implies that capital gains from nonrenewable resources coincide with real interests on resource wealth; net investment generated from the resource cancels out current cash flow from the resource; and real income comes from price change effects.

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