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Five Centuries of Energy Prices

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  • Roger Fouquet
  • Peter Pearson

Abstract

Concerns about rising energy prices tend to occur in times of economic expansion, to disappear in times of recession. A recurring fear is that, in the long run, real energy prices will trend upwards. This paper presents evidence from five hundred years of prices of energy sources for the United Kingdom. Over this time period, there is little support for any general trend of rising fuel prices—and some evidence of significant declines. Using this information on prices and consumer expenditure to weight the series, an ‘average price of energy’ series has been created. Reflecting the substitution away from more scarce fuels (driving prices down) and towards more valuable ones (driving prices up), over more than five hundred years—and albeit with significant long-lived fluctuations—there seems little evidence of a rising long-run trend in the real price of ‘energy’.

Suggested Citation

  • Roger Fouquet & Peter Pearson, 2003. "Five Centuries of Energy Prices," World Economics, World Economics, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 4(3), pages 93-119, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:wej:wldecn:151
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    Cited by:

    1. Pearson, Peter J.G. & Foxon, Timothy J., 2012. "A low carbon industrial revolution? Insights and challenges from past technological and economic transformations," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 117-127.
    2. van de Ven, Dirk Jan & Fouquet, Roger, 2017. "Historical energy price shocks and their changing effects on the economy," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 204-216.
    3. Zsuzsanna Csereklyei, M. d. Mar Rubio-Varas, and David I. Stern, 2016. "Energy and Economic Growth: The Stylized Facts," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2).
    4. Tol, Richard S.J. & Pacala, Stephen W. & Socolow, Robert H., 2009. "Understanding Long-Term Energy Use and Carbon Dioxide Emissions in the USA," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 425-445, May.
    5. Franco Ruzzenenti & Andreas A. Papandreou, 2015. "Effects of fossil fuel prices on the transition to a low-carbon economy," Working papers wpaper89, Financialisation, Economy, Society & Sustainable Development (FESSUD) Project.

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