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Oil Prices, Exhaustible Resources, and Economic Growth

  • James D. Hamilton

This paper explores details behind the phenomenal increase in global crude oil production over the last century and a half and the implications if that trend should be reversed. I document that a key feature of the growth in production has been exploitation of new geographic areas rather than application of better technology to existing sources, and suggest that the end of that era could come soon. The economic dislocations that historically followed temporary oil supply disruptions are reviewed, and the possible implications of that experience for what the transition era could look like are explored.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17759.

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Date of creation: Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as “Oil Prices, Exhaustible Resources, and Economic Growth,” in Handbook on Energy and Climate Change, pp. 29-63, edited by Roger Fouqet, Cheltenham, United Kingdom: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2013.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17759
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  1. Sylvain Leduc & Keith Sill, 2001. "A quantitative analysis of oil-price shocks, systematic monetary policy, and economic downturns," Working Papers 01-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  2. Arrow, Kenneth J. & Chang, Sheldon, 1982. "Optimal pricing, use, and exploration of uncertain natural resource stocks," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 1-10, March.
  3. Carruth, A.A. & Hooker, M.A. & Oswald, A.J., 1998. "Unemployment Equilibria and Input Prices: Theory and Evidence from the United States," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 496, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  4. Francesco Ravazzolo & Philip Rothman, 2011. "Oil and US GDP: A Real-Time out-of Sample Examination," Working Papers 0004, Centre for Applied Macro- and Petroleum economics (CAMP), BI Norwegian Business School.
  5. C. Baumeister & G. Peersman, 2008. "Time-Varying Effects of Oil Supply Shocks on the US Economy," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 08/515, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  6. John Burbidge & Alan Harrison, 1982. "Testing for the Effects of Oil-Price Rises Using Vector Autoregressions," School of Economics Working Papers 1982-01, University of Adelaide, School of Economics.
  7. Tatsu Kambara & Christopher Howe, 2007. "China and the Global Energy Crisis," Books, Edward Elgar, number 12522, April.
  8. Lutz Kilian, 2008. "The Economic Effects of Energy Price Shocks," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(4), pages 871-909, December.
  9. Slade, Margaret E., 1982. "Trends in natural-resource commodity prices: An analysis of the time domain," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 122-137, June.
  10. Kiseok Lee & Shawn Ni & Ronald A. Ratti, 1995. "Oil Shocks and the Macroeconomy: The Role of Price Variability," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 39-56.
  11. Christopher L. Foote & Jane Sneddon Little, 2011. "Oil and the macroeconomy in a changing world: a conference summary," Public Policy Discussion Paper 11-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  12. Kristie M. Engemann & Kevin L. Kliesen & Michael T. Owyang, 2010. "Do oil shocks drive business cycles? some U.S. and international evidence," Working Papers 2010-007, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  13. Roger Fouquet & Peter J.G. Pearson, 2006. "Seven Centuries of Energy Services: The Price and Use of Light in the United Kingdom (1300-2000)," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 139-178.
  14. Peter Ferderer, J., 1996. "Oil price volatility and the macroeconomy," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 1-26.
  15. James D. Hamilton, 2000. "What is an Oil Shock?," NBER Working Papers 7755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Daniel, Betty C., 1997. "International interdependence of national growth rates: A structural trends anakysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 73-96, September.
  17. Edelstein, Paul & Kilian, Lutz, 2009. "How sensitive are consumer expenditures to retail energy prices?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 766-779, September.
  18. Tobias N. Rasmussen & Agustin Roitman, 2011. "Oil Shocks in a Global Perspective: Are they Really That Bad?," IMF Working Papers 11/194, International Monetary Fund.
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