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The Energy Paradox of Sectoral Change and the Future Prospects of the Service Economy

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  • Christian Gross
  • Ulrich Witt

Abstract

Persistently rising energy prices have revived interest in the economic impact of changing energy costs. We explore the effects of these costs on sectoral change, particularly in relation to the rise and future prospects of the "service economy". Following Baumol?s cost disease hypothesis, (unexplained) productivity differentials between the industrial and service sectors are often utilized to explain the recent dominance of the service sector. We hypothesize that the productivity differential results from the respective technological opportunities for substituting energy for labor in each of the sectors. To test our hypothesis, we analyze the U.S. economy for the period from 1970 to 2005. By means of the Autoregressive Distributed Lags (ARDL) bounds test, we examine whether a cointegrating relationship exists, in a given sector, between labor productivity and variables from our model representing the technological substitution conditions. Our findings support this hypothesis. Therefore, we can conclude that productivity differentials between the sectors may vanish if, as a result of rising energy costs, the substitution incentives are likely to fade out. Such a development might put the future of the service economy at risk.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group in its series Papers on Economics and Evolution with number 2012-09.

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Length: 14 pages
Date of creation: 26 Apr 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:esi:evopap:2012-09

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Related research

Keywords: Sectoral Change; Energy; Technical Change; Productivity Growth; Baumol's disease;

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References

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  1. Schettkat, Ronald & Yocarini, Lara, 2006. "The shift to services employment: A review of the literature," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 127-147, June.
  2. Paresh Kumar Narayan, 2005. "The saving and investment nexus for China: evidence from cointegration tests," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(17), pages 1979-1990.
  3. Narayan, Paresh Kumar & Smyth, Russell, 2008. "Energy consumption and real GDP in G7 countries: New evidence from panel cointegration with structural breaks," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 2331-2341, September.
  4. Henriques, Sofia Teives & Kander, Astrid, 2010. "The modest environmental relief resulting from the transition to a service economy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 271-282, December.
  5. Christian Gross, 2011. "Explaining the (non-) causality between energy and economic growth in the U.S. - A multivariate sectoral analysis," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2011-04, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
  6. Engle, Robert F & Granger, Clive W J, 1987. "Co-integration and Error Correction: Representation, Estimation, and Testing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(2), pages 251-76, March.
  7. Nicholas Stern, 2008. "The Economics of Climate Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 1-37, May.
  8. Ayres, Robert U. & Warr, Benjamin, 2005. "Accounting for growth: the role of physical work," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 181-209, June.
  9. Ronald Schettkat, 2007. "The Astonishing Regularity Of Service Employment Expansion," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(3), pages 413-435, 07.
  10. Kumar Narayan, Paresh & Smyth, Russell, 2007. "Are shocks to energy consumption permanent or temporary? Evidence from 182 countries," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 333-341, January.
  11. M. Hashem Pesaran & Yongcheol Shin & Richard J. Smith, 2001. "Bounds testing approaches to the analysis of level relationships," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(3), pages 289-326.
  12. Hillard G. Huntington, 2010. "Structural Change and U.S. Energy Use: Recent Patterns," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 25-40.
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