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The simple analytics of commodity futures markets: do they stabilize prices? Do they raise welfare?

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  • V. V. Chari
  • Ravi Jagannathan

Abstract

This paper uses a simple, graphical approach to analyze what happens to commodity prices and economic welfare when futures markets are introduced into an economy. It concludes that these markets do not necessarily make prices more or less stable. It also concludes that, contrary to common belief, whatever happens to commodity prices is not necessarily related to what happens to the economic welfare of market participants: even when futures markets reduce the volatility of prices, some people can be made worse off. These conclusions come from a series of models that differ in their assumptions about the primary function of futures markets, the structure of the industries involved, and the tastes and technologies of the market participants.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its journal Quarterly Review.

Volume (Year): (1990)
Issue (Month): Sum ()
Pages: 12-24

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmqr:y:1990:i:sum:p:12-24:n:v.4no.3

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Related research

Keywords: Futures ; Commercial products;

References

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  1. Turnovsky, Stephen J, 1983. "The Determination of Spot and Futures Prices with Storable Commodities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(5), pages 1363-87, September.
  2. Kawai, Masahiro, 1983. "Spot and Futures Prices of Nonsotrable Commodities under Rational Expectations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(2), pages 235-54, May.
  3. Turnovsky, Stephen J & Campbell, Robert B, 1985. "The Stabilizing and Welfare Properties of Futures Markets: A Simulation Approach," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 26(2), pages 277-303, June.
  4. Hart, Oliver D & Kreps, David M, 1986. "Price Destabilizing Speculation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 927-52, October.
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