Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Uncertainty in exhaustible natural resource economics: The irreversible sunk costs of Hotelling

Contents:

Author Info

  • Reynolds, Douglas B.
Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    According to Pindyck (2007) there are three important aspects of uncertainly in environmental economics: (1) the benefits and costs of environmental policy tend to be highly non-linear, (2) environmental policy tends to involve important irreversibilities, where investment in pollution abatement can impose an irreversible, sunk cost on society, and where certain pollutants can stay in the environment forever and build up to cause even more future harm in which case investment in abatement can cause an irreversible, sunk benefit to society, and (3) environmental policy involves long time horizons and yet the discount rate society should use is uncertain for determining the net present value of costs and benefits of pollution abatement. These same uncertainties also affect non-renewable, exhaustible, natural resource economics and in particular the use of the Hotelling rule: (1) the costs, benefits and transversality conditions of using the Hotelling rule can be highly non-linear, (2) the Hotelling rule involves important sunk cost irreversibilities, which will be explained here, and (3) the Hotelling rule can involve long time horizons with uncertain discount rates. All three of these problem make it extremely difficult for a market to use in any way the Hotelling rule, yet by the sheer number of articles in non-renewable natural resource economics, one would believe that it is the basis of all resource markets. In this article, we concentrate on the sunk cost irreversibilities of using the Hotelling rule. The idea of the Hotelling rule is to optimally store a non-renewable resource, but the optimization is highly dependent on the actual reserves that are available to extract. However, reserves of underground exhaustible resources are often unobservable at the beginning stages of extraction which makes using the Hotelling Rule difficult.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301420713000731
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Resources Policy.

    Volume (Year): 38 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 532-541

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:eee:jrpoli:v:38:y:2013:i:4:p:532-541

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/30467

    Related research

    Keywords: Hotelling; Sunk cost; Exhaustible resource;

    Find related papers by JEL classification:

    References

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
    as in new window
    1. Norgaard, Richard B., 1990. "Economic indicators of resource scarcity: A critical essay," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 19-25, July.
    2. Cutter J. Cleveland & Robert K. Kaufmann, 1991. "Forecasting Ultimate Oil Recovery and Its Rate of Production: Incorporating Economic Forces into the Models of M. King Hubbert," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 17-46.
    3. Jakobsson, Kristofer & Söderbergh, Bengt & Snowden, Simon & Li, Chuan-Zhong & Aleklett, Kjell, 2012. "Oil exploration and perceptions of scarcity: The fallacy of early success," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 1226-1233.
    4. Pindyck, Robert S, 1978. "The Optimal Exploration and Production of Nonrenewable Resources," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 841-61, October.
    5. Richard L. Gordon, 2009. "Hicks, Hayek, Hotelling, Hubbert, and Hysteria or Energy, Exhaustion, Environmentalism, and Etatism in the 21st Century," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 1-16.
    6. Pesaran, M Hashem, 1990. "An Econometric Analysis of Exploration and Extraction of Oil in the U.K. Continental Shelf," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 367-90, June.
    7. Margaret E. Slade & Henry Thille, 1997. "Hotelling Confronts CAPM: A Test of the Theory of Exhaustible Resources," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 30(3), pages 685-708, August.
    8. Reynolds, Douglas B. & Pippenger, Michael K., 2010. "OPEC and Venezuelan oil production: Evidence against a cartel hypothesis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(10), pages 6045-6055, October.
    9. Cleveland, Cutler J., 1991. "Physical and economic aspects of resource quality : The cost of oil supply in the lower 48 United States, 1936-1988," Resources and Energy, Elsevier, vol. 13(2), pages 163-188, June.
    10. Stephen P. Holland, 2008. "Modeling Peak Oil," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 61-80.
    11. Kaufmann, Robert K., 1991. "Oil production in the lower 48 states : Reconciling curve fitting and econometric models," Resources and Energy, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 111-127, April.
    12. Loury, Glenn C, 1978. "The Optimal Exploitation of an Unknown Reserve," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(3), pages 621-36, October.
    13. Charness, Gary B & Jackson, Matthew O., 2007. "The Role of Responsibility in Strategic Risk-Taking," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt2mk4p42w, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
    14. M. Hashem Pesaran & Yongcheol Shin & Richard J. Smith, 2001. "Bounds testing approaches to the analysis of level relationships," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(3), pages 289-326.
    15. Brandt, Adam R., 2007. "Testing Hubbert," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 3074-3088, May.
    16. Milton Friedman & L. J. Savage, 1948. "The Utility Analysis of Choices Involving Risk," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56, pages 279.
    17. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Fisher, Anthony C, 1982. "Exploration and Scarcity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1279-90, December.
    18. Reynolds, Douglas B., 1999. "The mineral economy: how prices and costs can falsely signal decreasing scarcity," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 155-166, October.
    19. Pesaran, M. Hashem & Samiei, Hossein, 1995. "Forecasting ultimate resource recovery," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 543-555, December.
    20. J. David Brown & John S. Earle & Almos Telegdy, 2006. "The Productivity Effects of Privatization: Longitudinal Estimates from Hungary, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(1), pages 61-99, February.
    21. Bardi, Ugo, 2005. "The mineral economy: a model for the shape of oil production curves," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 53-61, January.
    22. Gilbert, Richard J, 1979. "Optimal Depletion of an Uncertain Stock," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(1), pages 47-57, January.
    23. Lynch, Michael C., 2002. "Forecasting oil supply: theory and practice," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 373-389.
    24. James L. Smith, 2005. "Petroleum Prospect Valuation: The Option to Drill Again," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 53-68.
    25. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1950. "A Difficulty in the Concept of Social Welfare," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 58, pages 328.
    26. Robert K. Kaufmann & Cutler J. Cleveland, 2001. "Oil Production in the Lower 48 States: Economic, Geological, and Institutional Determinants," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 27-49.
    27. Brandt, Adam R., 2010. "Review of mathematical models of future oil supply: Historical overview and synthesizing critique," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 35(9), pages 3958-3974.
    28. John Livernois, 2009. "On the Empirical Significance of the Hotelling Rule," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 3(1), pages 22-41, Winter.
    29. Arild N. Nystad, 1988. "On the Economics of Improved Oil Recovery: The Optimal Recovery Factor from Oil and Gas Reservoirs," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 49-61.
    30. Nystad, Arild N., 1987. "Rate sensitivity and the optimal choice of production capacity of petroleum reservoirs," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 37-45, January.
    31. Russell S. Uhler, 1976. "Costs and Supply in Petroleum Exploration: The Case of Alberta," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 9(1), pages 72-90, February.
    32. Solow, Robert M, 1974. "The Economics of Resources or the Resources of Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(2), pages 1-14, May.
    33. G. C. Watkins, 1992. "The Hotelling Principle: Autobahn or Cul de Sac?," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 1-24.
    34. Richard L. Gordon, 1967. "A Reinterpretation of the Pure Theory of Exhaustion," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 274.
    35. Carol Dahl & Mine Yucel, 1991. "Testing Alternative Hypotheses of Oil Producer Behavior," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 117-138.
    36. Cutler J. Cleveland & Robert K. Kaufmann, 1997. "Natural Gas in the U.S.: How Far Can Technology Stretch the Resource Base?," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 89-108.
    37. Gérard Gaudet, 2007. "Natural resource economics under the rule of Hotelling," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1033-1059, November.
    38. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Fisher, Anthony C, 1981. "Hotelling's "Economics of Exhaustible Resources": Fifty Years Later," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 65-73, March.
    39. Burness, H. Stuart & Brill, Thomas C., 2001. "The role for policy in common pool groundwater use," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 19-40, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jrpoli:v:38:y:2013:i:4:p:532-541. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.