Many observers regard the world oil market as a puzzle. Why are oil prices so volatile? Why did prices spike in the summer of 2008, and what role did speculators play? How important is OPEC? Where are oil prices headed in the long run? Is “peak oil” a genuine concern? Any attempt to answer these questions must be informed and disciplined by economics. We examine the evidence on each of these issues and provide an interpretation of developments in the world oil market from the perspective of economic theory.
The Journal of Economic Perspectives (JEP) attempts to fill a gap between the general interest press and most other academic economics journals. The journal aims to publish articles that will serve several goals: to synthesize and integrate lessons learned from active lines of economic research; to provide economic analysis of public policy issues; to encourage cross-fertilization of ideas among the fields of thinking; to offer readers an accessible source for state-of-the-art economic thinking; to suggest directions for future research; to provide insights and readings for classroom use; and to address issues relating to the economics profession.