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"Twin Peaks" in Energy Prices: A Hotelling Model with Pollution Learning

Author

Listed:
  • Chakravorty, Ujjayant

    () (University of Alberta, Department of Economics)

  • Leach, Andrew

    () (University of Alberta, School of Business)

  • Moreaux, Michel

    (Laboratory of Natural Resource Economics, Toulouse School of Economics)

Abstract

We study how environmental regulation in the form of a cap on aggregate emissions from a fossil fuel (e.g., coal) affects the arrival of a clean substitute (e.g., solar energy). The cost of the substitute decreases with cumulative use because of learning-by-doing. We show that energy prices may initially increase but then decline upon attaining the targeted level of pollution, followed by another cycle of rising and falling prices. The surprising result is that with pollution and learning, the Hotelling model predicts the cyclical behavior of energy prices in the long run. The alternating trends in upward or downward price movements we show may at least partially explain recent empirical findings by Lee, List and Strazicich (2006) that long run resource prices are stationary around deterministic trends with structural breaks in intercept and trend slope. The main implication of our results is that testing for secular price trends as predicted by the textbook Hotelling model may lead to incorrect conclusions regarding the predictive power of the theory of nonrenewable resource economics.

Suggested Citation

  • Chakravorty, Ujjayant & Leach, Andrew & Moreaux, Michel, 2009. ""Twin Peaks" in Energy Prices: A Hotelling Model with Pollution Learning," Working Papers 2009-10, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:albaec:2009_010
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    File URL: https://sites.ualberta.ca/~econwps/2009/wp2009-10.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ujjayant Chakravorty & Michel Moreaux & Mabel Tidball, 2008. "Ordering the Extraction of Polluting Nonrenewable Resources," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 1128-1144, June.
    2. Goulder, Lawrence H. & Mathai, Koshy, 2000. "Optimal CO2 Abatement in the Presence of Induced Technological Change," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 1-38, January.
    3. Argote, L. & Epple, D., 1990. "Learning Curves In Manufacturing," GSIA Working Papers 89-90-02, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
    4. John Livernois, 2009. "On the Empirical Significance of the Hotelling Rule," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 3(1), pages 22-41, Winter.
    5. Bramoulle, Yann & Olson, Lars J., 2005. "Allocation of pollution abatement under learning by doing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(9-10), pages 1935-1960, September.
    6. Chakravorty, Ujjayant & Magne, Bertrand & Moreaux, Michel, 2006. "A Hotelling model with a ceiling on the stock of pollution," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(12), pages 2875-2904, December.
    7. Partha Dasgupta & Richard J. Gilbert & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1982. "Invention and Innovation Under Alternative Market Structures: The Case of Natural Resources," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(4), pages 567-582.
    8. Lee, Junsoo & List, John A. & Strazicich, Mark C., 2006. "Non-renewable resource prices: Deterministic or stochastic trends?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 354-370, May.
    9. McDonald, Alan & Schrattenholzer, Leo, 2001. "Learning rates for energy technologies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 255-261, March.
    10. 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 1201-1234, December.
    11. Salant, Stephen & Eswaran, Mukesh & Lewis, Tracy, 1983. "The length of optimal extraction programs when depletion affects extraction costs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 364-374, December.
    12. Popp, David, 2006. "ENTICE-BR: The effects of backstop technology R&D on climate policy models," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 188-222, March.
    13. Kenneth J. Arrow, 1962. "The Economic Implications of Learning by Doing," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(3), pages 155-173.
    14. Gerlagh, Reyer & van der Zwaan, Bob, 2003. "Gross world product and consumption in a global warming model with endogenous technological change," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 35-57, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gerard van der Meijden & Sjak Smulders, 2014. "Technological Change during the Energy Transition," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 14-108/VIII, Tinbergen Institute.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    dynamic models; energy markets; environmental externalities; global warming; technological change;

    JEL classification:

    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development
    • Q41 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Demand and Supply; Prices

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