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Understanding Crude Oil Prices

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  • James D. Hamilton

Abstract

This paper examines the factors responsible for changes in crude oil prices. The paper reviews the statistical behavior of oil prices, relates these to the predictions of theory, and looks in detail at key features of petroleum demand and supply. Topics discussed include the role of commodity speculation, OPEC, and resource depletion. The paper concludes that although scarcity rent made a negligible contribution to the price of oil in 1997, it could now begin to play a role.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14492.

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Date of creation: Nov 2008
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Publication status: published as James D. Hamilton, 2009. "Understanding Crude Oil Prices," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 30(2), pages 179-206.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14492

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  1. Boyan Jovanovic, 2007. "Bubbles in Prices of Exhaustible Resources," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000001414, David K. Levine.
  2. Kwiatkowski, Denis & Phillips, Peter C. B. & Schmidt, Peter & Shin, Yongcheol, 1992. "Testing the null hypothesis of stationarity against the alternative of a unit root : How sure are we that economic time series have a unit root?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1-3), pages 159-178.
  3. Dahl, Carol & Sterner, Thomas, 1991. "Analysing gasoline demand elasticities: a survey," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 203-210, July.
  4. Auffhammer, Maximilian & Carson, Richard T., 2008. "Forecasting the path of China's CO2 emissions using province-level information," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 229-247, May.
  5. Bopp, Anthony E. & Lady, George M., 1991. "A comparison of petroleum futures versus spot prices as predictors of prices in the future," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 274-282, October.
  6. Menzie D. Chinn & Michael LeBlanc & Olivier Coibion, 2005. "The Predictive Content of Energy Futures: An Update on Petroleum, Natural Gas, Heating Oil and Gasoline," NBER Working Papers 11033, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Christopher Knittel & Daniel Sperling, 2006. "Evidence of a Shift in the Short-Run Price Elasticity of Gasoline Demand," Working Papers 625, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  8. Dermot Gately & Hiliard G. Huntington, 2002. "The Asymmetric Effects of Changes in Price and Income on Energy and Oil Demand," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 19-55.
  9. Alquist, Ron & Kilian, Lutz, 2007. "What Do We Learn from the Price of Crude Oil Futures?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6548, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Brons, Martijn & Nijkamp, Peter & Pels, Eric & Rietveld, Piet, 2008. "A meta-analysis of the price elasticity of gasoline demand. A SUR approach," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 2105-2122, September.
  11. Abosedra, Salah & Baghestani, Hamid, 2004. "On the predictive accuracy of crude oil futures prices," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(12), pages 1389-1393, August.
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