IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Productivity Trends in the Natural Resource Industries

  • Parry, Ian


    (Resources for the Future)

This paper examines multi-factor productivity trends in the U.S. petroleum, coal, copper and logging industries since 1970. Measures of multi-factor productivity growth are negative for all four industries during the 1970s. At the time this led to fears that stocks of natural resources were being exhausted, and this might hinder future economic growth. However in retrospect the 1970s look like an exceptional period, rather than marking a change in long run productivity trends. The decline in measured multi-factor productivity in that decade appear to be explained by a number of special factors that generally have a transitory rather than a permanent effect on productivity growth. For example, the rise in natural resource prices encouraged the entry of relatively inefficient producers. New environmental and health & safety regulations were phased in during the period that also reduce measured multi-factor productivity. Over the last 15 years however, productivity measures have improved significantly in all the industries. For example, we estimate that the level of productivity in 1992 was around 75 percent higher in the petroleum industry than at the trough of the productivity slowdown, and around 60 percent higher in coal and copper. To some extent these improvements represent restructuring and consolidation in response to falling output prices. However, technological developments have also played an important role in all four industries.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-97-39.

in new window

Date of creation: 01 Jul 1997
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-97-39
Contact details of provider: Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. William D. Nordhaus, 1992. "Lethal Model 2: The Limits to Growth Revisited," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(2), pages 1-60.
  2. Sedjo, Roger, 1997. "The Forest Sector: Important Innovations," Discussion Papers dp-97-42, Resources For the Future.
  3. Darmstadter, Joel, 1997. "Productivity Changes in U.S. Coal Mining," Discussion Papers dp-97-40, Resources For the Future.
  4. Hulten, Charles R, 1992. " Accounting for the Wealth of Nations: The Net versus Gross Output Controversy and Its Ramifications," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 94(0), pages S9-24, Supplemen.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-97-39. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Webmaster)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.