Money, Banks and Finance in Economic Thought

A Journey in Hotelling’s Archives: Some Results from the #BNREproject

Missemer Antoine, CNRS-CIRED Paris
Franco Marco P. V., UFMG
Mueller Thomas, LED - Paris 8
Gaspard Marion Gaspard, Triangle - Lyon 2
Nadaud Franck, CNRS-CIRED
Ferreira da Cunha Roberto, IHS Markit

This paper summarizes the results of the “Bifurcations in Natural Resource Economics (1920s-1930s)” project funded by the European Society for the History of Economic Thought. Based on unpublished archival material and other primary sources, we provide a fresh outlook on the evolution of economic thought pertaining to exhaustible resources in the interwar period. Through the examination of intermediate research threads, such as the influences on Hotelling’s intellectual trajectory, the role of State intervention, validity limits of the Hotelling rule, and statistical methods for measuring the energy-output link, we characterize the articulation between theory and empirics in natural resource analysis at the time. Our results suggest that this articulation was more complex than expected, and that the usual interpretations of Hotelling’s work, as well as of contemporary economic studies on energy, require reassessments. In this presentation, we will also present in detail Hotelling's archival materials and how we proceeded with them to conduct our research.

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Keywords: Hotelling, exhaustible resources, Tryon, time discounting, Hotelling rule, archives

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