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Improving the Evidence Base for Energy Policy: The Role of Systematic Reviews

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Abstract

The concept of Evidence Based Policy and Practice (EBPP) has gained increasing prominence in the UK over the last ten years and now plays a dominant role in a number of policy areas, including healthcare, education, social work, criminal justice and urban regeneration. But despite this substantial, influential and growing activity, the concept remains largely unknown to policymakers and researchers within the energy field. This paper proposes a definition of EBPP, identifies its key features and examines the potential role of systematic reviews of evidence in a particular area of policy. It summarises the methods through which systematic reviews are achieved; discusses their advantages and limitations; identifies the particular challenges they face in the energy policy area; and assesses whether and to what extent they can usefully be applied to contemporary energy policy questions. The concept is illustrated with reference to a proposed review of evidence for a 'rebound effect' from improved energy efficiency. The paper concludes that systematic reviews may only be appropriate for a subset of energy policy questions and that research-funding priorities may need to change if they use is to become more widespread.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex in its series SPRU Working Paper Series with number 146.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: 11 Apr 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sru:ssewps:146

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Keywords: energy policy; evidence-based policy and practice; systematic reviews; research synthesis;

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References

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  1. Berndt, Ernst R & Wood, David O, 1979. "Engineering and Econometric Interpretations of Energy-Capital Complementarity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(3), pages 342-54, June.
  2. Willett, Keith D. & Naghshpour, Shahdad, 1987. "Residential demand for energy commodities : A household production function approach," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 251-256, October.
  3. Saunders, Harry D., 2000. "A view from the macro side: rebound, backfire, and Khazzoom-Brookes," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(6-7), pages 439-449, June.
  4. Espey, Molly, 1998. "Gasoline demand revisited: an international meta-analysis of elasticities," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 273-295, June.
  5. A. Greening, Lorna & Greene, David L. & Difiglio, Carmen, 2000. "Energy efficiency and consumption -- the rebound effect -- a survey," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(6-7), pages 389-401, June.
  6. Brookes, Leonard, 2000. "Energy efficiency fallacies revisited," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(6-7), pages 355-366, June.
  7. Grepperud, Sverre & Rasmussen, Ingeborg, 2004. "A general equilibrium assessment of rebound effects," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 261-282, March.
  8. Raymond J.G.M. Florax & Henri L.F. de Groot & Ruud A. de Mooij, 2002. "Meta-analysis: A Tool for Upgrading Inputs of Macroeconomic Policy Models," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-041/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  9. Meyer, Bruce D, 1995. "Natural and Quasi-experiments in Economics," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(2), pages 151-61, April.
  10. Schipper, Lee & Grubb, Michael, 2000. "On the rebound? Feedback between energy intensities and energy uses in IEA countries," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(6-7), pages 367-388, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Hamilton, Ian G. & Steadman, Philip J. & Bruhns, Harry & Summerfield, Alex J. & Lowe, Robert, 2013. "Energy efficiency in the British housing stock: Energy demand and the Homes Energy Efficiency Database," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 462-480.

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