October 2011

Oil Efficiency, Demand, and Prices: A Tale of Ups and Downs

Martin Bodenstein and Luca Guerrieri


The macroeconomic implications of oil price fluctuations vary according to their sources. Our estimated two-country DSGE model distinguishes between country-specific oil supply shocks, various domestic and foreign activity shocks, and oil efficiency shocks. Changes in foreign oil efficiency, modeled as factor-augmenting technology, were the key driver of fluctuations in oil prices between 1984 and 2008, but have modest effects on U.S. activity. A pickup in foreign activity played an important role in the 2003-2008 oil price runup. Beyond quantifying the responses of oil prices and economic activity, our model informs about the propagation mechanisms. We find evidence that nonoil trade linkages are an important transmission channel for shocks that affect oil prices. Conversely, nominal rigidities and monetary policy are not.

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Keywords: Oil shocks, DSGE models, maximum likelihood

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Last Update: July 10, 2020