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OPEC Behaviour Under Falling Prices: Implications For Cartel Stability

Clifton T. Jones

Year: 1990
Volume: Volume 11
Number: Number 3
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol11-No3-6
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Abstract:
The surprising extended decline in real oil prices during the 1980s has raised the question of OPEC's continued viability as a price-setting cartel. In response, Griffin's (1985) tests of alternative hypotheses about OPEC behaviour performed over a period of generally rising prices (1971:1-1983:III) are repeated for the more recent period of falling prices (1983:IV-198R�1V), yielding the same general conclusions: most OPEC members continue to behave in a 'partial market sharing" way, while most non-OPEC oil producers do not. Thus the evidence suggests that recent oil price reductions are more the result of deliberate output adjustments by the cartel than the unintentional outcome of a breakdown in cartel discipline on the way to eventual collapse.



Testing Alternative Hypotheses of Oil Producer Behavior

Carol Dahl and Mine Yucel

Year: 1991
Volume: Volume 12
Number: Number 4
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol12-No4-8
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Abstract:
Conventional wisdom holds that OPEC is a weakly functioning cartel with non-OPEC producers forming a "competitive fringe." However, several studies have challenged the cartel hypothesis for OPEC with a few even challenging the competitive hypothesis for non-OPEC producers. In this paper, we test competing hypotheses (which include dynamic optimization, target-revenue, competition, cartel, and swing production) for production decisions for both OPEC and non-OPEC producers. Recently developed cost data allow these tests to be done on the most general model to date. In our tests, we find no evidence for dynamic optimization. Formal target-revenue models are rejected, but there is some evidence that revenue targeting may influence production for some OPEC countries and a few non-OPEC countries. We find no evidence that any of the OPEC countries behave in a competitive manner. More surprisingly, we find no evidence that the fringe is competitive. Using co-integration tests, we are unable to find formal evidence of coordination in the form of strict cartel behavior or swing production among OPEC countries. Taken as a whole, the evidence suggests that loose coordination or duopoly is most consistent with OPEC behavior.



Unilateral Climate Policy: Can OPEC Resolve the Leakage Problem?

Christoph Bohringer, Knut Einar Rosendahl, and Jan Schneider

Year: 2014
Volume: Volume 35
Number: Number 4
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.35.4.4
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Abstract:
In the absence of a global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, individual countries have introduced national climate policies. Unilateral action involves the risk of relocating emissions to regions without climate regulations, i.e., emission leakage. A major channel for leakage are price changes in the international oil market. Previous studies on leakage have assumed competitive behavior in this market. Here, we consider alternative assumptions about OPEC's behavior in order to assess how these affect leakage and costs of unilateral climate policies. Our results based on simulations with a large-scale computable general equilibrium model of the global economy suggest that assumptions on OPEC's behavior are crucial to the impact assessment of unilateral climate policy measures. We find that leakage through the oil market may become negative when OPEC is perceived as a dominant producer, thereby reducing overall leakage drastically compared to a setting where the oil market is perceived competitive.





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