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Understanding Crude Oil Prices

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  • James D. Hamilton

Abstract

This paper examines the factors responsible for changes in crude oil prices. The paper reviews the statistical behavior of oil prices, relates these to the predictions of theory, and looks in detail at key features of petroleum demand and supply. Topics discussed include the role of commodity speculation, OPEC, and resource depletion. The paper concludes that although scarcity rent made a negligible contribution to the price of oil in 1997, it could now begin to play a role.

Suggested Citation

  • James D. Hamilton, 2008. "Understanding Crude Oil Prices," NBER Working Papers 14492, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14492
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    1. Ron Alquist & Lutz Kilian, 2010. "What do we learn from the price of crude oil futures?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(4), pages 539-573.
    2. Boyan Jovanovic, 2013. "Bubbles In Prices Of Exhaustible Resources," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 54(1), pages 1-34, February.
    3. Kwiatkowski, Denis & Phillips, Peter C. B. & Schmidt, Peter & Shin, Yongcheol, 1992. "Testing the null hypothesis of stationarity against the alternative of a unit root : How sure are we that economic time series have a unit root?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1-3), pages 159-178.
    4. Auffhammer, Maximilian & Carson, Richard T., 2008. "Forecasting the path of China's CO2 emissions using province-level information," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 229-247, May.
    5. Menzie D. Chinn & Michael LeBlanc & Olivier Coibion, 2005. "The Predictive Content of Energy Futures: An Update on Petroleum, Natural Gas, Heating Oil and Gasoline," NBER Working Papers 11033, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Andrew Harvey (ed.), 1994. "Time Series," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, volume 0, number 599, December.
    7. Jonathan E. Hughes & Christopher R. Knittel & Daniel Sperling, 2008. "Evidence of a Shift in the Short-Run Price Elasticity of Gasoline Demand," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 29(1), pages 113-134.
    8. Brons, Martijn & Nijkamp, Peter & Pels, Eric & Rietveld, Piet, 2008. "A meta-analysis of the price elasticity of gasoline demand. A SUR approach," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 2105-2122, September.
    9. Abosedra, Salah & Baghestani, Hamid, 2004. "On the predictive accuracy of crude oil futures prices," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(12), pages 1389-1393, August.
    10. Dahl, Carol & Sterner, Thomas, 1991. "Analysing gasoline demand elasticities: a survey," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 203-210, July.
    11. Bopp, Anthony E. & Lady, George M., 1991. "A comparison of petroleum futures versus spot prices as predictors of prices in the future," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 274-282, October.
    12. Dermot Gately & Hiliard G. Huntington, 2002. "The Asymmetric Effects of Changes in Price and Income on Energy and Oil Demand," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 19-55.
    13. Tatsu Kambara & Christopher Howe, 2007. "China and the Global Energy Crisis," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 12522, December.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q4 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy

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