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Historical and Empirical Basis for Communal Title in Minerals at the National Level: Does Ownership Matter for Human Development?

Gary Flomenhoft ()
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Gary Flomenhoft: Center for Social Responsibility in Mining, Sustainable Minerals Institute, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QLD 4067, Australia

Sustainability, 2018, vol. 10, issue 6, 1-27

Abstract: This paper explores the impact of mineral ownership on the resource curse as measured by the Human Development Index. We start from the basic assumption that the Earth and its minerals are common pool resources, and the sharing of benefits would improve development outcomes. Communal title to minerals exists at the international level for the deep seabed, outer space objects, and, potentially Antarctica, and at the sub-national level through communal title to land, such as traditional landowners and aboriginal tribes. A comprehensive summary of national mining title laws for 199 countries was completed in order to determine if communal ownership is recognized at the national level. The finding is that this type of ownership is non-existent at the national level. The methods include historiography, extensive compilation of national constitutions and mining laws, and linear regression analysis. Ownership titles were combined into centralized and decentralized categories, and simple regression conducted to determine correlation with the human development index (HDI) for 199 countries. Initial findings are that decentralized mineral ownership titles are statistically correlated with higher HDI outcomes.

Keywords: communal title; commonwealth; mineral title; national mineral title; mineral rights; national mining laws; communal property titles; human development index; HDI; common heritage of mankind; communal ownership; public trust doctrine; sovereign wealth fund; communal property rights (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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