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Jeffrey A. Frankel
James W. Harpel Professor of Capital Formation and Growth
phone: (617)496-3834
fax: (617)496-5747
Frankel, Jeffrey A. "Now is the Right Time to Reform Oil Pricing." Guardian, August 10, 2015.
World oil prices, which have been highly volatile during the last decade, have fallen more than 50% over the past year. The economic effects have been negative overall for oil-exporting countries, and positive for oil-importing countries. But what about effects that are not directly economic? If we care about environmental and other externalities, should we want oil prices to go up, because that will discourage oil consumption, or down because that will discourage oil production? The answer is that countries should seek to do both: lower the price paid to oil producers and raise the price paid by oil consumers, by cutting subsidies for oil and refined products or raising taxes on them. Many emerging-market countries have taken advantage of falling oil prices to implement such reforms. The United States, which is now surprisingly close to energy self-sufficiency, so that the macroeconomic effects roughly balance, should follow suit.




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