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Nonconvexity, efficiency and equilibrium in exhaustible resource depletion

  • Anthony Fisher
  • Larry Karp

We consider the problem of efficiency and existence of a competitive equilibrium in exhaustible resource markets where extraction costs are nonconvex. Nonconvexity is shown to imply that (1) (efficient) extraction ceases to the left of the minimum efficient scale, i.e., where average costs exceed marginal costs; and (2) a competitive equilibrium does not exist. Introduction of a backstop technology (which induces a flat portion of the industry demand curve) restores both existence and efficiency, provided that the backstop price is sufficiently low. If firms face even a small amount of uncertainty regarding their rivals' stocks, a backstop technology is sufficient to restore existence of competitive equilibrium, even if the backstop price is very high. In this case, however, the competitive equilibrium is not efficient. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/BF00338322
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Article provided by European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in its journal Environmental & Resource Economics.

Volume (Year): 3 (1993)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 97-106

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Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:3:y:1993:i:1:p:97-106
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  1. Farrow, Scott, 1985. "Testing the Efficiency of Extraction from a Stock Resource," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(3), pages 452-87, June.
  2. Hartwick, John M. & Kemp, Murray C. & Van Long, Ngo, 1986. "Set-up costs and theory of exhaustible resources," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 212-224, September.
  3. Eswaran, Mukesh & Lewis, Tracy R & Heaps, Terry, 1983. "On the Nonexistence of Market Equilibria in Exhaustible Resource Markets with Decreasing Costs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(1), pages 154-67, February.
  4. Dasgupta,P. S. & Heal,G. M., 1985. "Economic Theory and Exhaustible Resources," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521297615.
  5. Gilbert, Richard J, 1979. "Optimal Depletion of an Uncertain Stock," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(1), pages 47-57, January.
  6. Schulze, William D., 1974. "The optimal use of non-renewable resources: The theory of extraction," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 53-73, May.
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