Mineral economics: Overview of a discipline
Mineral economics is the academic discipline that investigates and promotes understanding of economic and policy issues associated with the production and use of mineral commodities. While its origins can be traced back at least 200 years to the writings of David Ricardo and other early Classical economists, it emerged as a separate academic field only after World War II and then primarily in the United States. As a separate academic discipline, its roots are found in mining schools that needed to consider the milieu in which minerals are sold. While geologists, mining engineers, and others with technical backgrounds were largely responsible for creating the first stand-alone mineral-economics programs, ultimately trained economists became participants as well. Moreover, even after the rise of mineral-economics departments, most of the research in the field continued and continues to be carried out in other academic units, including traditional economic departments and engineering schools, as well as in government agencies, nonprofit research organizations, consulting firms, and international organizations. In the decades following World War II, after early fears of a new depression and excess capacity evaporated, mineral economics focused on the long-run availability of nonrenewable commodities and the threat of supply interruptions for strategic and critical minerals from the Middle East, the Soviet Union, and southern Africa, concerns that persisted at least through the 1980s. The relationship between mineral companies and governments (with particular attention on taxes and other ways of sharing the benefits from mining) was another important issue, as were more traditional interests, including market analysis (mainly, price and demand forecasts), project evaluation, and monopoly and antitrust issues. Since then, the discipline has spread from its early North American base around the globe. The range of topics addressed has grown as well and now includes the environmental impact of mineral production and use, the resource curse, the rise of China and India as major consumers, the concerns of indigenous people and local communities, and a host of other economic and policy issues associated with mineral commodities. This article examines the nature of mineral economics, its emergence as a distinct academic discipline following World War II, and its more recent evolution. It concludes with a few observations about the future.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Richard L. Gordon, 1967. "A Reinterpretation of the Pure Theory of Exhaustion," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 274.
- Robert Bradley, 2007. "Resourceship: An Austrian theory of mineral resources," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 63-90, March.
- Jeffrey A. Krautkraemer, 1998. "Nonrenewable Resource Scarcity," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 2065-2107, December.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jrpoli:v:33:y:2008:i:1:p:4-11. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.