Oil Prices, Exhaustible Resources, and Economic Growth

James D. Hamilton

NBER Working Paper No. 17759
Issued in January 2012
NBER Program(s):   EEE   EFG

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.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from ($5) for electronic delivery.

Information about Free Papers

You should expect a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.


Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w17759

Published: “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.

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Barsky and Kilian w10855 Oil and the Macroeconomy Since the 1970s
Elekdag, Lalonde, Laxton, Muir, and Pesenti w13792 Oil Price Movements and the Global Economy: A Model-Based Assessment
Hamilton w16186 Nonlinearities and the Macroeconomic Effects of Oil Prices
Wolfram, Shelef, and Gertler w17747 How Will Energy Demand Develop in the Developing World?
Hamilton w14492 Understanding Crude Oil Prices
NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us