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November 1982

A Perspective on the Economics of Natural Gas Decontrol

by Mack Ott and John A. Tatom

A major obstacle to the decontrol of the U.S. natural gas market has been the potential effect on the price of natural gas paid by residential users (voters). Analysts also have argued that natural gas decontrol will have adverse macroeconomic effects similar to those experienced following OPEC energy price increases. This article provides an alternative perspective, which indicates that the adverse economic effects of decontrol are substantially overstated. These negative impacts are largely reversed when the effect of natural gas decontrol on the world oil market is taken into account.