Category Archives: energy

The US Petroleum Trade Balance

As oil prices start heading up, the usual questions arise regarding the macro implications. One view is that with the revolution in tight oil production, the US will experience less of a negative impact than before. This conclusion relies on a set of assumptions, possibly including the US being substantially less dependent on oil imports. Is this true?

Figure 1: US petroleum trade balance (blue), and negative of US petroleum imports (red). NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Source: BEA, 2018Q1 advance release, NBER, author’s calculations.

Continue reading

New data sources for economic research

One of the exciting implications for economists of the digitization of everything is the ability to study economic relations and behavior at a level of detail far beyond anything that could have been attempted a decade ago. I’ve earlier called attention here to new measures of inflation obtained from millions of prices posted on the web, new insights into pricing behavior coming from scanner data on individual store transactions, and understanding of consumer behavior based on debit and credit transactions of 25 million Americans. Here I discuss another new study based on smart-phone apps.
Continue reading

OPEC production cut

The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday:

OPEC said its members agreed that they need to cut crude output to reduce the world’s supply glut, a shift for the 14-member group that was enough to send oil prices higher, even though reaching a deal remains far from certain.

Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said they reached an understanding after a six-hour gathering in the Algerian capital, but deferred until November the fraught task of finalizing a plan to make those cuts. OPEC officials said a committee would be formed to determine how much each country would have to cut and then report to the group at its next meeting on Nov. 30 in Vienna.

Continue reading