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Aggressive Oil Extraction and Precautionary Saving: Coping with Volatility

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  • Frederick Van der Ploeg

Abstract

The effects of stochastic oil demand on optimal oil extraction paths and tax, spending and government debt policies are analyzed when the oil demand schedule is linear and preferences quadratic. Without prudence, optimal oil extraction is governed by the Hotelling rule and optimal budgetary policies by the tax and consumption smoothing principle. Volatile oil demand brings forward oil extraction and induces a bigger government surplus. With prudence, the government depletes oil reserves even more aggressively and engages in additional precautionary saving financed by postponing spending and bringing taxes forward, especially if it has substantial monopoly power on the oil market, gives high priority to the public spending target, is very prudent, and future oil demand has high variance. Uncertain economic prospects induce even higher precautionary saving and, if non]oil revenue shocks and oil revenue shocks are positively correlated, even more aggressive oil extraction. In contrast, prudent governments deliberately underestimate oil reserves which induce less aggressive oil depletion and less government saving, but less so if uncertainty about reserves and oil demand are positively correlated.

Suggested Citation

  • Frederick Van der Ploeg, 2010. "Aggressive Oil Extraction and Precautionary Saving: Coping with Volatility," CESifo Working Paper Series 3038, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3038
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Hotelling rule; tax smoothing; prudence; vigorous oil extraction; precautionary saving; taxation and under-spending; oil price volatility; uncertain economic prospects and oil reserves;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt
    • Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development

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