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Should We Worry About The Failure Of The Hotelling Rule?

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  • Tobias Kronenberg

Abstract

The continuing dependence of the global economy on fossil fuels is worrying because it imposes limits on growth due to the non-renewable nature of these resources and also contributes to global climate change. Resource optimists believe that this is no reason to worry, because the economy will always find a way to overcome these constraints. Their arguments, however, require that resource prices reflect the scarcity of non-renewable resources, which implies that they must obey the Hotelling rule . Empirical analyses, however, show that the Hotelling rule does not hold in reality, which raises the question: does the failure of the Hotelling rule imply that social optimality is not achieved? This paper argues that the answer depends on the reason for the failure. If extraction and exploration costs, or technological progress in these activities, are the reasons for the failure, a market failure is not implied, and optimality may still be achieved. But if the Hotelling rule fails due to uncertain property rights or strategic interaction, the market will surely fail to provide an optimal solution. A market failure is likely to speed up resource consumption compared to the social optimum. Copyright © 2008 The Author. Journal compilation © 2008 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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  • Tobias Kronenberg, 2008. "Should We Worry About The Failure Of The Hotelling Rule?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(4), pages 774-793, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jecsur:v:22:y:2008:i:4:p:774-793
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kronenberg, Tobias, 2010. "Dematerialisation of consumption: a win-win strategy?," MPRA Paper 25704, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Laing, Timothy, 2015. "Rights to the forest, REDD+ and elections: Mining in Guyana," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(P2), pages 250-261.
    3. Emilie Alberola & Julien Chevallier, 2009. "European Carbon Prices and Banking Restrictions: Evidence from Phase I (2005-2007)," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 51-80.
    4. Sascha Samadi, 2017. "The Social Costs of Electricity Generation—Categorising Different Types of Costs and Evaluating Their Respective Relevance," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(3), pages 1-37, March.
    5. Roel van Veldhuizen & Joep Sonnemans, 2011. "Nonrenewable Resources, Strategic Behavior and the Hotelling Rule: An Experiment," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-014/1, Tinbergen Institute.
    6. Hartwell, Christopher A., 2016. "The institutional basis of efficiency in resource-rich countries," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 519-538.
    7. Julien Chevallier, 2012. "Banking And Borrowing In The Eu Ets: A Review Of Economic Modelling, Current Provisions And Prospects For Future Design," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(1), pages 157-176, February.
    8. Pustov, Alexander & Malanichev, Alexander & Khobotilov, Ilya, 2013. "Long-term iron ore price modeling: Marginal costs vs. incentive price," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 558-567.
    9. Julien Chevallier & Emilie Alberola, 2009. "Banking and Borrowing in the EU ETS: An Econometric Appraisal of the 2005-2007 Intertemporal Market," Working Papers halshs-00388071, HAL.
    10. Kuckshinrichs, Wilhelm & Kronenberg, Tobias & Hansen, Patrick, 2010. "The social return on investment in the energy efficiency of buildings in Germany," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 4317-4329, August.

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