01-02 "Mixed Signals: Market Incentives, Recycling, and the Price Spike of 1995"
AbstractEnvironmental economics assumes that reliance on price signals, adjusted for externalities, normally leads to efficient solutions to environmental problems. We explore a limiting case, when market volatility created "mixed signals": waste paper and other recycled materials were briefly worth an immense amount in 1994-95, then plummeted back to traditional low levels in 1996. These rapid reversals resulted in substantial economic and political costs. A review of academic and business literature suggests six possible explanations for abrupt price spikes. An econometric analysis of the prices of wood pulp and waste paper shows that factors that explained price changes in 1983-93 contribute very little to understanding the subsequent price spike. From the econometric analysis and from other sources, we conclude that speculation, rather than "rational" economic factors, must have played a major role in the price spike. If speculatively driven price spikes can disrupt an environmentally important industry such as recycling, then the surprising implication for public policy is that measures to control or stabilize prices, far from interfering with the market, may actually help to make it more efficient.
Download InfoIf 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.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by GDAE, Tufts University in its series GDAE Working Papers with number 01-02.
Date of creation:
Date of revision:
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.:
- Deaton, A. & Laroque, G., 1996. "Competitive storage and commodity price dynamics," Open Access publications from University College London http://discovery.ucl.ac.u, University College London.
- Nick Hanley & Rick Slark, 1993. "Cost-Benefit Analysis of Paper Recycling: A Case Study and Some General Principles," Working Papers Series 93/13, University of Stirling, Division of Economics.
- Deb, Partha & Trivedi, Pravin K & Varangis, Panayotis, 1996. "The Excess Co-movement of Commodity Prices Reconsidered," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(3), pages 275-91, May-June.
- Deaton, Angus & Laroque, Guy, 1996. "Competitive Storage and Commodity Price Dynamics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 896-923, October.
- Frank Ackerman & Kevin Gallagher, . "00-05 "Getting the Prices Wrong: The Limits of Market-Based Environmental Policy."," GDAE Working Papers 00-05, GDAE, Tufts University.
- Deaton, A. & Laroque, G., 1989.
"On The Behavior Of Commodity Prices,"
145, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
- Christensen, Laurits Rolf & Caves, Richard E, 1997. "Cheap Talk and Investment Rivalry in the Pulp and Paper Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(1), pages 47-73, March.
- Revesz, Richard L. & Stavins, Robert N., 2007. "Environmental Law," Handbook of Law and Economics, Elsevier.
- Sushil Bikhchandani & David Hirshleifer & Ivo Welch, 1998. "Learning from the Behavior of Others: Conformity, Fads, and Informational Cascades," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 151-170, Summer.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Erin Coutts).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.