Energy and Economics


This conference was built around a series of readings from the economics literature examining energy issues, especially William Stanley Jevons’s 1865 book, The Coal Question, which founded the field of mineral economics as the first systematic economic analysis of energy issues. Focusing attention on Jevons’s analysis reintroduced a historical perspective to many of today’s “sustainable energy” debates.


Conference Readings

Harvard Business School. Energy Future: Report of the Energy Project at the Harvard Business School. Edited by Stobaugh, Robert and Daniel Yergin. Cambridge: Random House, 1979.

Anderson, Terry. “The New Resource Economics: Old Ideas and New Applications.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics 64, no. 5 (1982): 928-934.

Gordon, Richard and Peter Van Doren. “Two Cheers for the 1872 Mining Law.” CATO Policy Analysis (November 1998): 1-25. (accessed December 15, 2009).

Holdren, John. “Energy in Transition.” Scientific American (1990): 157-163.

Hotelling, Harold. “The Economics of Exhaustible Resources.” Journal of Political Economy (April 1931): 137-138, 174-175.

Jevons, William Stanley. The Coal Question. NA: General Books LLC, 2009.

Lovins, Amory. “Energy Strategy: The Road Not Taken?” Council on Foreign Relations (1976): 65-96.

Mitchell, Edward. U.S. Energy Policy: A Primer. Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 1974.

Simon, Julian. The Ultimate Resource 2. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996.

Simon, Julian. The Ultimate Resource. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983.

Smil, Vaclav. Energy at the Crossroads: Global Perspectives and Uncertainities. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2003.

Zimmermann, Erich. World Resources. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1933.