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Can a Cartel Fuel the Engine of Economic Development? OPEC and the macroeconomics of oil


  • Jose Noguera
  • Rowena A. Pecchenino


OPEC’s stated mission is to promote the economic development and growth of its member states while minimizing volatility in the oil markets. But after a promising beginning many member states’ economies have declined rather than prospered—a clear indication of OPEC’s failure to meet their development goals. Thus, we ask if a resource cartel can achieve the joint goals of development and resource market stability. In a model in which oil producing countries choose whether to join an oil cartel or remain in the fringe, we find that, in a highly elastic oil market, a profit maximizing cartel is inconsistent with oil market stability in the face of demand shocks. Thus, it is inimical to macroeconomic stability, an essential requirement for long-lasting capital investment, and therefore economic development and growth. Consequently, it may not be optimal for an oil-exporting country that cares adequately about macroeconomic stability to join the cartel. But for a country where short-run considerations overwhelm long-run concerns, cartel membership may be the correct choice. Yet the oil rich are ultimately cursed by their excessive reliance on their resource wealth—current profligacy begets future decline.

Suggested Citation

  • Jose Noguera & Rowena A. Pecchenino, 2005. "Can a Cartel Fuel the Engine of Economic Development? OPEC and the macroeconomics of oil," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp280, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
  • Handle: RePEc:cer:papers:wp280

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sy, Amadou N.R., 2004. "Rating the rating agencies: Anticipating currency crises or debt crises?," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(11), pages 2845-2867, November.
    2. A. Michael Spence, 1979. "Investment Strategy and Growth in a New Market," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 1-19, Spring.
    3. Stéphan Marette & John Crespi, 2003. "Can Quality Certification Lead to Stable Cartels?," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 23(1), pages 43-64, August.
    4. Gylfason, Thorvaldur, 2001. "Natural resources, education, and economic development," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-6), pages 847-859, May.
    5. Ahmad R. Jalali-Naini & Mehdi Asali, 2004. "Cyclical behaviour and shock-persistence: crude oil prices," OPEC Energy Review, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, vol. 28(2), pages 107-131, June.
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    More about this item


    OPEC; macroeconomic stability; resource curse; economic development.;

    JEL classification:

    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • F4 - International Economics - - Macroeconomic Aspects of International Trade and Finance
    • Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy
    • Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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