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The Alberta Dilemma: Optimal Sharing of a Water Resource by an Agricultural and an Oil Sector

  • GAUDET, Gérard
  • MOREAUX, Michel
  • WITHAGEN, Cees

The purpose of this paper is to characterize the optimal time paths of production and water usage by an agricultural and an oil sector that have to share a limited water resource. We show that for any given water stock, if the oil stock is sufficiently large, it will become optimal to have a phase during which the agricultural sector is inactive. This may mean having an initial phase during which the two sectors are active, then a phase during which the water is reserved for the oil sector and the agricultural sector is inactive, followed by a phase during which both sectors are active again. The agricultural sector will always be active in the end as the oil stock is depleted and the demand for water from the oil sector decreases. In the case where agriculture is not constrained by the given natural inflow of water once there is no more oil, we show that oil extraction will always end with a phase during which oil production follows a pure Hotelling path, with the implicit price of oil net of extraction cost growing at the rate of interest. If the natural inflow of water does constitute a constraint for agriculture, then oil production never follows a pure Hotelling path, because its full marginal cost must always reflect not only the imputed rent on the finite oil stock, but also the positive opportunity cost of water.

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Paper provided by Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 2005-18.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mtl:montde:2005-18
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  1. Favard, Pascal, 2002. "Does productive capital affect the order of resource exploitation?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 911-918, June.
  2. Amigues, Jean-Pierre & Favard, Pascal & Gaudet, Gerard & Moreaux, Michel, 1998. "On the Optimal Order of Natural Resource Use When the Capacity of the Inexhaustible Substitute Is Limited," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 153-170, May.
  3. Gerard Gaudet & Michel Moreaux & Stephen W. Salant, 2001. "Intertemporal Depletion of Resource Sites by Spatially Distributed Users," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1149-1159, September.
  4. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521331586 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Chakravorty, Ujjayant & Krulce, Darrell L, 1994. "Heterogeneous Demand and Order of Resource Extraction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(6), pages 1445-52, November.
  6. Kemp, Murray C & Long, Ngo Van, 1980. "On Two Folk Theorems Concerning the Extraction of Exhaustible Resources," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(3), pages 663-73, April.
  7. Ujjayant Chakravorty & Darrell Krulce & James Roumasset, 2004. "Specialization and Nonrenewable Resources: Ricardo Meets Ricardo," Working Papers 200401, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  8. John Hartwick & Murray Kemp & Ngo van Long, 1980. "Set-up Costs and Theory of Exhaustible Resources," Working Papers 412, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  9. Chakravorty, Ujjayant & Roumasset, James & Tse, Kinping, 1997. "Endogenous Substitution among Energy Resources and Global Warming," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(6), pages 1201-34, December.
  10. Lewis, Tracy R, 1982. "Sufficient Conditions for Extracting Least Cost Resource First," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1081-83, July.
  11. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521337465 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Holland, Stephen P., 2003. "Extraction capacity and the optimal order of extraction," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 569-588, May.
  13. Swallow, Stephen K., 1990. "Depletion of the environmental basis for renewable resources: The economics of interdependent renewable and nonrenewable resources," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 281-296, November.
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