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The Mechanisms for Autonomous Energy Efficiency Increases: A Cointegration Analysis of the US Energy/GDP Ratio

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  • Robert K. Kaufmann

Abstract

Many forecasts for energy use and carbon emissions assume that energy intensity will decline over time for reasons unrelated to energy prices, which are termed autonomous energy efficiency increases (AEEI). A cointegration analysis of a vector error correction model indicates that the types of fuels consumed, personal consumption expenditures spent on energy, and energy prices account for changes in the ratio of energy use to economic activity in the US between 1929 and 1999. Cointegration indicates that AEEI is associated with technical and/or structural changes which allow consumers to substitute oil, natural gas, and/or primary electricity for coal, and that shift energy use from final demand to intermediate sectors. Identifying the factors responsible for AEEI allows me to: (1) show that econometric efforts to measure technical change using a deterministic trend are inconsistent with economic theory and cannot be interpreted reliably; (2) show that modeling technical change with a deterministic trend may generate forecasts that overstate reductions in energy use and carbon emissions; and (3) test the observational record for the presence of price-induced technical change and its effect on economic growth. Together, the results indicate that current estimates for AEEI may overstate future reductions in energy use and that the economic impacts of policies to reduce energy use and slow emissions may have a greater effect on economic growth than anticipated currently.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by International Association for Energy Economics in its journal The Energy Journal.

Volume (Year): Volume 25 (2004)
Issue (Month): Number 1 ()
Pages: 63-86

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Handle: RePEc:aen:journl:2004v25-01-a04

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Cited by:
  1. Jean-Francois Mercure, 2012. "On the changeover timescales of technology transitions and induced efficiency changes: an overarching theory," Papers 1209.0424, arXiv.org.
  2. Yoosoon Chang & Yongok Choi & Chang Sik Kim & Joon Y. Park & J. Isaac Miller, 2013. "Disentangling Temporal Patterns in Elasticities: A Functional Coefficient Panel Analysis of Electricity Demand," Working Papers 1320, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  3. Jakob, Michael & Haller, Markus & Marschinski, Robert, 2012. "Will history repeat itself? Economic convergence and convergence in energy use patterns," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 95-104.
  4. Peter Mulder & Henri Groot, 2007. "Sectoral Energy- and Labour-Productivity Convergence," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 36(1), pages 85-112, January.
  5. Lambert, Jessica G. & Hall, Charles A.S. & Balogh, Stephen & Gupta, Ajay & Arnold, Michelle, 2014. "Energy, EROI and quality of life," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 153-167.
  6. David I. Stern, 2010. "The Role of Energy in Economic Growth," CCEP Working Papers 0310, Centre for Climate Economics & Policy, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  7. Richmond, Amy K. & Kaufmann, Robert K., 2006. "Is there a turning point in the relationship between income and energy use and/or carbon emissions?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 176-189, February.
  8. David I. Stern & Cutler J. Cleveland, 2004. "Energy and Economic Growth," Rensselaer Working Papers in Economics 0410, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Economics.
  9. Miketa, Asami & Mulder, Peter, 2005. "Energy productivity across developed and developing countries in 10 manufacturing sectors: Patterns of growth and convergence," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 429-453, May.
  10. Sorrell, Steve, 2009. "Jevons' Paradox revisited: The evidence for backfire from improved energy efficiency," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 1456-1469, April.
  11. Ockwell, David G., 2008. "Energy and economic growth: Grounding our understanding in physical reality," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(12), pages 4600-4604, December.
  12. Coccia, Mario, 2010. "Energy metrics for driving competitiveness of countries: Energy weakness magnitude, GDP per barrel and barrels per capita," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 1330-1339, March.

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