Le Cirque

In: English and Literature

Submitted By krishnee
Words 4409
Pages 18
1.4

The macroeconomic impacts of oil price shocks

1.4.1 A short history of a controversial topic
Since the 1973 OPEC (Organization of Petroleum
Exporting Countries) oil embargo, the role of rapid, unanticipated increases in oil prices has been a topic of intense interest, among both economists and the lay public. Considering the magnitude of widespread national recessions during the 1970s, the controversy surrounding research on the macroeconomics of oil price shocks may seem surprising: why would anyone doubt the capacity of oil price shocks to cause the major movements in GDP (Gross Domestic Product) which have been observed in so many countries?
Possibly most important in fueling the controversy is the small share of GDP that oil and its close substitutes have comprised in most economies: 1.5% to 3% prior to the 1973 episode. Experienced macroeconomists doubted that even a sizeable shock to such a small part of the economy could have the observed effects. Second, the 1973 episode itself was not a clean experiment because a number of other major factors were emerging at the same time. The world economy was just getting off the post-Bretton
Woods fixed exchange rate regime. A number of countries, including the United States, was teetering on the brink of recession at the time of the 1973 shock; in the United States in particular, monetary policy tightened right around the time of the 1973 shock. Separating these effects and deciding the role of oil price shocks in post 1973 movements of GDP, unemployment rates, and other recessionary indicators has been technically difficult; the potential answers to oil’s role have been seen as important components of diverse doctrinal programs, ranging from fundamental paradigm shifts in macroeconomics to more purely political agendas. Many technical results were clouded by the limited…...

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