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Ordering the Extraction of Polluting Nonrenewable Resources

Author

Listed:
  • Ujjayant Chakravorty
  • Michel Moreaux
  • Mabel Tidball

Abstract

A well-known theorem by Herfindahl states that the low-cost nonrenewable resource must be exploited first. Consider resources that are differentiated only by their pollution content. For instance, both coal and natural gas are used to generate electricity, yet coal is more polluting. We show that the ordering of extraction need not be driven by whether a resource is clean or dirty. Coal may be used first, followed by natural gas, and again by coal. Such "vacillation" does not occur under cost heterogeneity. A perverse policy implication is that regulating pollution may accelerate use of the polluting resource.

Suggested Citation

  • Ujjayant Chakravorty & Michel Moreaux & Mabel Tidball, 2008. "Ordering the Extraction of Polluting Nonrenewable Resources," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 1128-1144, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:98:y:2008:i:3:p:1128-44
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.98.3.1128
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Chakravorty, Ujjayant & Krulce, Darrell L, 1994. "Heterogeneous Demand and Order of Resource Extraction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1445-1452, November.
    2. Chakravorty, Ujjayant & Magne, Bertrand & Moreaux, Michel, 2006. "A Hotelling model with a ceiling on the stock of pollution," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(12), pages 2875-2904, December.
    3. Amigues, Jean-Pierre & Favard, Pascal & Gaudet, Gerard & Moreaux, Michel, 1998. "On the Optimal Order of Natural Resource Use When the Capacity of the Inexhaustible Substitute Is Limited," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 153-170, May.
    4. Lewis, Tracy R, 1982. "Sufficient Conditions for Extracting Least Cost Resource First," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1081-1083, July.
    5. Kemp, Murray C & Long, Ngo Van, 1980. "On Two Folk Theorems Concerning the Extraction of Exhaustible Resources," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(3), pages 663-673, April.
    6. Harold Hotelling, 1931. "The Economics of Exhaustible Resources," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39, pages 137-137.
    7. Gerard Gaudet & Michel Moreaux & Stephen W. Salant, 2001. "Intertemporal Depletion of Resource Sites by Spatially Distributed Users," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1149-1159, September.
    8. Smulders, J.A. & van der Werf, E.H., 2005. "Climate Policy and the Optimal Extraction of High- and Low-Carbon Fossil Fuels," Other publications TiSEM 07323d75-b5ab-46d8-906a-d, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q38 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy (includes OPEC Policy)
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development

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