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Futures Trading, Storage, and the Division of Risk: A Multiperiod Analysis


  • Hirshleifer, David


This paper analyzes the interaction of storage and futures trading when producers make decisions covering many harvests. In this more general context, by examining how risks are distributed between storers and growers, results are obtained that differ dramatically from previous models in the literature. When storage is costly, storers may reduce risk by taking long hedging positions, rather than selling inventories short. Contrary to the conventional view (in a tradition beginning with J. M. Keynes and J. R. Hicks), costless storage does not imply downward bias of futures prices (" normal backwardation"). Hedging against the optimally varying planting costs promotes upward price bias (" contango"), while hedging against storage costs to be incurred promotes downward bias. When the risks faced by growers and storers are negatively correlated, futures trading can substitute for vertical integration as a means of reducing risk. Copyright 1989 by Royal Economic Society.

Suggested Citation

  • Hirshleifer, David, 1989. "Futures Trading, Storage, and the Division of Risk: A Multiperiod Analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 700-719, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:99:y:1989:i:397:p:700-719

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rodrik, Dani, 1987. "Trade and capital-account liberalization in a keynesian economy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 113-129, August.
    2. Barro, Robert J & Gordon, David B, 1983. "A Positive Theory of Monetary Policy in a Natural Rate Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(4), pages 589-610, August.
    3. Alberto Alesina, 1987. "Macroeconomic Policy in a Two-Party System as a Repeated Game," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(3), pages 651-678.
    4. Persson, Torsten & van Wijnbergen, Sweder, 1993. "Signalling, Wage Controls and Monetary Disinflation Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(416), pages 79-97, January.
    5. Alesina, Alberto, 1987. "Macroeconomic Policy in a Two-party System as a Repeated Game," Scholarly Articles 4552531, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    6. Staiger, Robert W & Tabellini, Guido, 1987. "Discretionary Trade Policy and Excessive Protection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 823-837, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bernard Michael Gilroy, 1991. "Schweizerische Pflichtlagerhaltung und ihre Finanzierung," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 127(III), pages 431-443, September.
    2. Acharya, Viral V. & Lochstoer, Lars A. & Ramadorai, Tarun, 2013. "Limits to arbitrage and hedging: Evidence from commodity markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(2), pages 441-465.
    3. Richard Heaney, 1998. "A Test of the cost‐of‐carry relationship using the London Metal Exchange lead contract," Journal of Futures Markets, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(2), pages 177-200, April.
    4. repec:dau:papers:123456789/11383 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Méndez Parra, Maximiliano, 2015. "Futures prices, trade and domestic supply of agricultural commodities," Economics PhD Theses 0115, Department of Economics, University of Sussex.
    6. Hennessy, David A., 1996. "Information Asymmetry As a Reason for Vertical Integration," Staff General Research Papers Archive 10422, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    7. Pennings, Joost M. E. & Heijman, Willem J. M., 1995. "Prospects for an electricity futures market A comment," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 283-284, December.
    8. Boum-Jong Choe, 1992. "The precautionary demand for commodity stocks," Policy Research Working Paper Series 935, The World Bank.
    9. Filippo Natoli, 2018. "Analyzing the structural transformation of commodity markets: financialization revisited," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 419, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    10. Michail Anthropelos & Michael Kupper & Antonis Papapantoleon, 2015. "An equilibrium model for spot and forward prices of commodities," Papers 1502.00674,, revised Jan 2017.
    11. Ivar Ekeland & Delphine Lautier & Bertrand Villeneuve, 2013. "A simple equilibrium model for a commodity market with spot trades and futures contracts," Post-Print hal-01655807, HAL.

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