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Historical Causes of Postwar Oil Shocks and Recessions

Abstract:
Turbulent petroleum markets and poor economic performance have been making headlines for the last decade. Three major oil shocks (1973-1974, 1979, and 1980-1981) have each been followed by major recessions. While the magnitude and violence of recent oil price changes are unique in postwar experience, the phenomenon of political instability producing disruptions in petroleum supply is not. Hamilton (1983a) observed that all but one of the recessions in the United States since World War II were preceded-typically by about nine months-by a dramatic increase in the price of crude petroleum (see Figure 1).

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Energy Specializations: Petroleum – Markets and Prices for Crude Oil and Products; Energy Security and Geopolitics – Geopolitics of Energy; Energy and the Economy – Energy as a Productive Input; Energy and the Economy –Economic Growth and Energy Demand; Energy and the Economy – Resource Endowments and Economic Performance; Energy and the Economy – Energy Shocks and Business Cycles

JEL Codes:
L13 - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
Q48 - Energy: Government Policy
O13 - Economic Development: Agriculture; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Other Primary Products
Q34 - Natural Resources and Domestic and International Conflicts
F44 - International Business Cycles

Keywords: Oil price shocks, Recessions, Oil price volatility, Oil supply

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol6-No1-9


Published in Volume 6, Number 1 of The Quarterly Journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.