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The Baleen Whales’ Saving Grace: The Introduction of Petroleum Based Products in the Market and Its Impact on the Whaling Industry

Listed author(s):
  • John McCollough


    (Department of Business and Economics, The Pennsylvania State University-Lehigh Valley, 2809 Saucon Valley Rd., Center Valley, PA 18034, USA)

  • Henry F. Check


    (Department of Business and Economics, The Pennsylvania State University-Lehigh Valley, 2809 Saucon Valley Rd., Center Valley, PA 18034, USA)

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    This paper presents empirical evidence which indicates that the introduction of petroleum based products on the American markets was a significant factor in reducing the demand for whale oil. As a result, the whaling industry, America’s 5th largest industry at the time, soon collapsed. A counterfactual study is then presented which suggests that if the introduction of petroleum based products had been delayed, then the increase in demand as a result of rising GDP per capita, as well as rapid industrialization, would have given whalers incentive to continue chasing after a diminishing whale population. This could have resulted in the baleen whale population being subject to unsustainable harvest levels.

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    Article provided by MDPI, Open Access Journal in its journal Sustainability.

    Volume (Year): 2 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 10 (September)
    Pages: 1-16

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    Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:2:y:2010:i:10:p:3142-3157:d:9756
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