Luck or Skill? An Examination of the Ehrlich - Simon Bet
AbstractIn 1980, Paul Ehrlich and Julian Simon placed a famous bet on whether the prices of a bundle of natural resources would rise or fall over the ensuing decade. Simon won the bet as the real price of the bundle fell significantly, and the result of this bet has been taken as proof that technological progress is likely overcome any Neo-Malthusian concerns about natural resource scarcity. Contrary to the popular perception, however, an examination of the price history of the identical bundle of goods from 1900-2007 shows that Ehrlich and not Simon would have won a majority of the bets over the past century and would have done so by a wide margin.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0908.
Length: 5 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2009
Date of revision:
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Web page: http://www.holycross.edu/departments/economics/website/
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Natural resources; scarcity; Neo-Malthusian;
Other versions of this item:
- Kiel, Katherine & Matheson, Victor & Golembiewski, Kevin, 2010. "Luck or skill? An examination of the Ehrlich-Simon bet," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(7), pages 1365-1367, May.
- Q30 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - General
- Q31 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2009-08-08 (All new papers)
- NEP-ENE-2009-08-08 (Energy Economics)
- NEP-ENV-2009-08-08 (Environmental Economics)
- NEP-MIC-2009-08-08 (Microeconomics)
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.:
- M. H. Khalil Timamy, 2005. "Debate," Review of African Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(104-105), pages 383-393, June.
- Lawn, Philip, 2010. "On the Ehrlich-Simon bet: Both were unskilled and Simon was lucky," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(11), pages 2045-2046, September.
- Stan Becker, 2013. "Has the World Really Survived the Population Bomb? (Commentary on “How the World Survived the Population Bomb: Lessons From 50 Years of Extraordinary Demographic History”)," Demography, Springer, vol. 50(6), pages 2173-2181, December.
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