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The Imperfect Price-Reversibility of World Oil Demand

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  • Dermot Gately

Abstract

This paper examines the price-reversibility of world oil demand, using price decomposition methods employed previously on other energy demand data. We conclude that the reductions in world oil demand following the oil price increases of the 1970s will not be completely reversed by the price cuts of the 1980s. The response to price cuts in the 1980s is perhaps only one-fifth that for price increases in the 1970s. This has dramatic implications for projections of oil demand, especially under low-price assumptions. We also consider the effect on demand of a price recovery (sub-maximum increase) in the 1990s-due either to OPEC or to a carbon tax-specifically whether the effects would be as large as for the price increases of the 1970s or only as large as the smaller demand reversals of the 1980s. On this the results are uncertain, but a tentative conclusion is that the response to a price recovery would lie midway between the small response to price cuts and the larger response to increases in the maximum historical price. Finally, We demonstrate two implications of wrongly assuming that demand is perfectly price-reversible. First, such an assumption will grossly overestimate the demand response to price declines of the 1980s. Secondly, and somewhat surprisingly, it causes an underestimate of the effect of income growth on future demand.

Suggested Citation

  • Dermot Gately, 1993. "The Imperfect Price-Reversibility of World Oil Demand," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 163-182.
  • Handle: RePEc:aen:journl:1993v14-04-a11
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hendry, David F, 1986. "Econometric Modelling with Cointegrated Variables: An Overview," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 48(3), pages 201-212, August.
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    3. Granger, Clive W J, 1986. "Developments in the Study of Cointegrated Economic Variables," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 48(3), pages 213-228, August.
    4. Walls, W. David, 1993. "A Cointegration Rank Test of Market Linkages with an Application to the U.S. Natural Gas Industry," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt6sj0961h, University of California Transportation Center.
    5. Engle, Robert F. & Yoo, Byung Sam, 1987. "Forecasting and testing in co-integrated systems," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 143-159, May.
    6. Johansen, Soren, 1991. "Estimation and Hypothesis Testing of Cointegration Vectors in Gaussian Vector Autoregressive Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(6), pages 1551-1580, November.
    7. Johansen, Soren & Juselius, Katarina, 1990. "Maximum Likelihood Estimation and Inference on Cointegration--With Applications to the Demand for Money," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 52(2), pages 169-210, May.
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    JEL classification:

    • F0 - International Economics - - General

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