Real Exchange Rate Adjustment and the Welfare Effects of Oil Price Decontrol
Conventional analysis of the welfare effects of U.S. oil price regulation in the 1970's focuses on the deadweight losses in the oil market. This paper argues that such analysis substantially understates the benefits from decontrolling prices, because decontrol will lead to an improvement in the U.S. terms of trade with respect to other oil importing countries. A simple model of the relationship between oil decontrol and the terms of trade is developed, and the impact is calculated for plausible parameter values. The results suggest that the terms of trade benefits are several times larger than the benefits as conventionally measured.