Nonrenewable Resources, Strategic Behavior and the Hotelling Rule: An Experiment

We use a laboratory experiment to investigate a novel reason for the lack of empirical support for the Hotelling rule for nonrenewable resources. Specifically, we test whether producers with large resource stocks focus less on the dynamic component of their extraction decision, making them shift extraction to the present and focus more on strategic behavior. Exploiting exogenous variation in stock size in a nonrenewable resource duopoly laboratory experiment, we find that producers with large stocks indeed pay significantly less attention to dynamic optimization, and shift extraction to the present, leading them to overproduce relative to the Hotelling rule.