Inflated expectations and commodity prices: Evidence from Kazakhstan

Victoire Girard, Alma Kudebayeva, Gerhard Toews

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


We document that an oil price boom triggers dissatisfaction with one’s income, and that this change in satisfaction is independent of changes in real economic conditions. Unique data from Kazakhstan allows us to exploit time, sectoral and spatial variation to identify the impact of the recent oil boom on reported satisfaction with income. Oil-related households - whose heads are employed in the private sector of the oil-rich districts - report a decrease in satisfaction with their income during the boom, compared to other households whose heads work in other sectors and/or districts. The estimated drop in satisfaction is statistically significant and suggests that doubling the price of oil decreases satisfaction with income by one-tenth of a standard deviation in satisfaction. We discuss different interpretations of this drop in satisfaction. The most plausible explanation of our findings is that the changes people observe during the boom seem to fall short of their aspirations. Our results call for more attention to be devoted to the dynamic of satisfaction, not only during resource busts, but also during resource booms.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Sustainable Politics and Economics of Natural Resources
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781789908770
ISBN (Print)9781789908763
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


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