Volume 4 • Issue 1 | March 2020

Understanding the Economic Impact of Oil Price Shocks

Erkal Ersoy, Mark E. Schaffer

Abstract: There is a rich literature on the link between oil price fluctuations and macroeconomic fundamentals that emerged after the oil shocks of the 1970s. This paper reviews this research and provides an overview of key historical developments in the global crude oil market and their implications for the oil price-macroeconomy relationship. We discuss theoretical and empirical studies on this theme with a focus on empirical issues researchers have had to overcome. We speculate that, as the world transitions to a low-carbon economy, oil is likely to continue losing market share to other energy sources and that this will lead to a secular decline in the importance of oil for the macroeconomy. But even in the most optimistic scenarios, this transition will take decades and, in the meantime, understanding oil price shocks will continue to be an area of active research.

JEL classification: L71, Q35, Q43