This study assesses empirically the effects of oil price shocks on the real economic activity of the main industrialized countries. Multivariate VAR analysis is carried out using both linear and non-linear models. The latter category includes three approaches employed in the literature, namely, the asymmetric, scaled and net specifications. Evidence of a non-linear impact of oil prices on real GDP is found. In particular, oil price increases are found to have an impact on GDP growth of a larger magnitude than that of oil price declines, with the latter being statistically insignificant in most cases. Among oil importing countries, oil price increases are found to have a negative impact on economic activity in all cases but Japan. Moreover, the effect of oil shocks on GDP growth differs between the two oil exporting countries in the sample, with the UK being negatively affected by an oil price increase and Norway benefiting from it.