Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Discussion Paper Series in Economics,
Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics

No 9/2011: A Crisis that Never Came. The Decline of the European Antarctic Whaling Industry in the 1950s and -60s.

Bjørn L. Basberg ()
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Bjørn L. Basberg: Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Postal: NHH , Department of Economics, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway

Abstract: The paper analyses the decline and final close down of the European Antarctic whaling industry in the 1950s and -60s. This industry had been led by British and Norwegian companies, which were now challenged by Japan and Soviet Union that completely took over Antarctic whaling for the next decades. The decline most severely affected Norway where the whaling industry was relatively more important than in any other country. The decline was also disproportionally felt in Norway because the country provided crew and equipment to many foreign whaling companies. The paper will therefore have a special focus on the Norwegian industry and how the challenges were faced there. The analysis reveals that the decline did not develop into a crisis for the companies involved or in the wider economy. One main explanation was that business cycles in shipping and in the general economy were very favourable during the years when the whaling industry was wound up.

Keywords: Antarctic; whaling; transition; decline.

JEL-codes: N50; N84

20 pages, May 16, 2011

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