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A Handbook of Primary Commodities in the Global Economy


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Table of Contents

1. The Historical Framework; 2. The Geography of Commodity Production and Trade; 3. Comparative Advantage and the Trade Policy Distortions; 4. Fossil Fuels; 5. Price Formation and Price Trends in Commodities; 6. Commodity Booms; 7. The Commodity Exchanges, Commodity Investments and Speculation; 8. Sustainability and the Threats of Resource Depletion; 9. Fears of and Measures to Assure Supply Security; 10. Producer Cartels in International Commodity Markets; 11. Public Ownership in Primary Commodity Production; 12. The Monoeconomies: Issues Raised by Heavy Dependence on Commodity Production and Exports; References; Index.

Promotional Information

A guide to the ins and outs of the primary commodity universe, now in its third edition.

About the Author

Marian Radetzki is Professor of Economics at Lulea University of Technology, Sweden and co-author of The Price of Oil (Cambridge, 2016). Linda Warell is Associate Professor of Economics at Lulea University of Technology, Sweden.


'This invaluable guide to the political economy of primary commodities remains a highly readable description and even-handed analysis of the multiple facets of the sector, as accessible to the layman as to the specialist. It should be required reading for policy makers, commentators and students and for all involved in commodity production and trade.' Phillip Crowson, University of Dundee
'An exceptionally clear and comprehensive guide, written by masters of the commodity research universe. At this time of unprecedented uncertainty for global trade, economic growth and commodity prices, Radetzki and Warell produce important reading for everyone from students to professors, to industry practitioners, to those in the policy arena.' Roberto F. Aguilera, Curtin University, and co-author of The Price of Oil
'Recently updated and easy-to-read, this book provides a wonderful overview of international commodity markets. This 3rd edition expands the coverage of numerous recent developments shaping these markets, including China's growing economic and political power, the rise of shale oil and gas, growing concerns over global climate change, and the trade war between the United States and China.' John E. Tilton, Colorado School of Mines
'Markets for primary commodities are not as large a part of the global economy today as they were in the previous two centuries, but they remain crucial to economic growth and poverty alleviation. Their importance means they are subject to major and ever-changing interventions by governments. This assessable and up-to-date revised Handbook will be welcomed by students and all readers interested in understanding the workings of primary commodity markets, and the reasons behind and effects of policies and institutions that influence them.' Kym Anderson, University of Adelaide and Australian National University
'The tech economy has not rendered commodities obsolete as some believed it would. In some areas, such as the development of green energy, it has made them more important than ever. Radetzki and Warell's book remains the best single-volume introduction to the complex and often misunderstood world of commodities. Like its predecessors, this updated edition addresses in a clear and thoughtful manner key questions about the economic importance of agricultural and mineral commodities, who produces and uses them, how they are traded (and what are the major distortions to this trade), why their prices are subject to booms and busts, and what sustainability means for commodity-producing countries.' David Humphreys, author of The Remaking of the Mining Industry
'Marian Radetzki is the grand old man of the commodity industries. The Handbook of Primary Commodities in the Global Economy, written in collaboration with Linda Warell, remains the best guide to these important industries. Much has changed since the publication of the second edition. Many markets now exhibit over-supply while sustainability and climate change dictate the climate in which both corporate investment and public policy must be framed. The updated third edition of this established text is therefore timely and important.' Christopher Gilbert, John Hopkins University
'Marian Radetzki has spent a lifetime studying and working in primary commodity markets and is an icon in the field of Mineral Economics. This newest edition of his classic book on commodity markets is the 4th rendition with previous incarnations in 1990, 2009, and 2016. His trusted sidekick, Linda Warell, Editor-in-Chief of the journal Mineral Economics joined as co-author in the 2016. Together they have again provided an up-to-date comprehensive introduction to international commodity markets from the perspective of economists. It is accessible to generalists new to, but wanting to know more about these fascinating markets. This accessibility coupled with its framing of issues, institutions, and statistics for the more advanced student of these markets is without equal. This book has clearly passed the test of time.' Carol Dahl, Colorado School of Mines

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