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Understanding Crude Oil Prices

James D. Hamilton

University of California at San Diego; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

November 2008

NBER Working Paper No. w14492

This paper examines the factors responsible for changes in crude oil prices. The paper reviews the statistical behavior of oil prices, relates these to the predictions of theory, and looks in detail at key features of petroleum demand and supply. Topics discussed include the role of commodity speculation, OPEC, and resource depletion. The paper concludes that although scarcity rent made a negligible contribution to the price of oil in 1997, it could now begin to play a role.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 46

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Date posted: November 17, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Hamilton, James D., Understanding Crude Oil Prices (November 2008). NBER Working Paper No. w14492. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1301939

Contact Information

James D. Hamilton (Contact Author)
University of California at San Diego ( email )
9500 Gilman Drive
Mail code: 0508
La Jolla, CA 92093-0508
United States
619-534-5986 (Phone)
619-534-7040 (Fax)
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
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Cambridge, MA 02138
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