Prospects for British Coal: Shorter Comments

  • Kevin Barron
Part of the Surrey Energy Economics Centre book series (SEECE)


Unlike some of the other opinions expressed in this book, I take as my starting point the continued public ownership of the vast majority of the coal industry. I was startled to find that a book with such a title was almost exclusively about the ‘how’ and ‘when’ British Coal (BC) should be transferred to the private sector. I do not intend to contribute to that debate as I believe that the future of BC lies in the public sector.


Vertical Integration Coal Industry Public Ownership Short Comment Coal Import 
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  1. 1.
    I actually developed my ideas on the subject to counter the conventional wisdom of the early 1980s that prices would go on rising for a long time or at least start rising in the 1990s. For example see my articles: Stevens, P, 1982, ‘Oil Prices: The End of an Era?’, ODI Review, 2, 1–19Google Scholar
  2. Stevens, P, 1986, The Price of Oil — The Prospects for the 1990s’, Natural Resources Forum, May, 165–172Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    For example, see Warren-Boulton, F R, 1974, Vertical Control with Variable Proportions’, Journal of Political Economy, 94, 135–150.Google Scholar
  4. 3.
    There is a theoretical counter-argument that vertical integration with monopoly at one stage can enhance consumer welfare. See for example, Machlup, F and Taber, M, 1960, ‘Bilateral Monopoly, Successive Monopoly, and Vertical Integration’, Economica, May, 27, 101–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. More recent theoretical arguments also in favour of enhanced consumer welfare can be found in Greenhut, M L and Ohta, H, 1979, ‘Vertical Integration of Successive Oligopolies’, American Economic Review, 69, 137–141 andGoogle Scholar
  6. Waterson, M, 1982, ‘Vertical Integration, Variable Proportions and Oligopoly’, Economic Journal, March, 92, 129–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 5.
    For example, see Stevens, P, 1985, ‘A Survey of Structural Change in the International Oil Industry 1945–84’, in Hawdon, D (ed), The Changing Structure of the World Oil Industry, 18–51, Croom Helm, London.Google Scholar
  8. 6.
    For example, see Robinson, C, 1989, ‘Privatising the Energy Industries’, in Veljanovski, C, (ed), Privatisation and Competition, Institute of Economic Affairs, London, 113–128.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin Barron

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