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Causes and Consequences of the Oil Shock of 2007-08

  • James D. Hamilton

This paper explores similarities and differences between the run-up of oil prices in 2007-08 and earlier oil price shocks, looking at what caused the price increase and what effects it had on the economy. Whereas historical oil price shocks were primarily caused by physical disruptions of supply, the price run-up of 2007-08 was caused by strong demand confronting stagnating world production. Although the causes were different, the consequences for the economy appear to have been very similar to those observed in earlier episodes, with significant effects on overall consumption spending and purchases of domestic automobiles in particular. In the absence of those declines, it is unlikely that we would have characterized the period 2007:Q4 to 2008:Q3 as one of economic recession for the U.S. The experience of 2007-08 should thus be added to the list of recessions to which oil prices appear to have made a material contribution.

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File URL: http://www.brookings.edu/about/projects/bpea/editions/~/media/Projects/BPEA/Spring%202009/2009a_bpea_hamilton.PDF
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Article provided by Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution in its journal Brookings Papers on Economic Activity.

Volume (Year): 40 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (Spring) ()
Pages: 215-283

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Handle: RePEc:bin:bpeajo:v:40:y:2009:i:2009-01:p:215-283
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  1. Alan S. Blinder & Jeremy B. Rudd, 2008. "The Supply-Shock Explanation of the Great Stagflation Revisited," NBER Working Papers 14563, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
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  5. Robert B. Barsky & Lutz Kilian, 2001. "Do We Really Know that Oil Caused the Great Stagflation? A Monetary Alternative," NBER Working Papers 8389, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Jeffrey A. Frankel, 2006. "The Effect of Monetary Policy on Real Commodity Prices," NBER Working Papers 12713, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Olivier J. Blanchard & Jordi Galí, 2007. "The macroeconomic effects of oil price shocks: Why are the 2000s so different from the 1970s?," Economics Working Papers 1045, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2008.
  8. Espey, Molly, 1998. "Gasoline demand revisited: an international meta-analysis of elasticities," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 273-295, June.
  9. Hamilton, James D., 2003. "What is an oil shock?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 113(2), pages 363-398, April.
  10. Lutz Kilian, 2008. "Exogenous Oil Supply Shocks: How Big Are They and How Much Do They Matter for the U.S. Economy?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 216-240, May.
  11. Edward E. Leamer, 2008. "What's a Recession, Anyway?," NBER Working Papers 14221, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. Hamilton, James D, 1983. "Oil and the Macroeconomy since World War II," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(2), pages 228-48, April.
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