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A Note on the Role of Energy in Production

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  • Keen, Steve
  • Ayres, Robert U.
  • Standish, Russell

Abstract

Energy plays no role in the standard Cobb-Douglas Production Function (CDPF), and a trivial role in a three-factor CDPF where it is treated as a third input, independent of labour and capital. Starting from an epistemological perspective, we treat energy as an input to both labour and capital, without which production is impossible. We then derive an energy-based CPDF (EBCDPF) in which energy plays a critical role. We argue for the redefinition and measurement of real GDP in terms of exergy. We conclude that the “Solow Residual” measures the contribution of exergy to growth, and that the exponents in the EBCDPF should be based on cross-country comparative data as suggested by Mankiw (1995) rather than the “cost-share theorem”.

Suggested Citation

  • Keen, Steve & Ayres, Robert U. & Standish, Russell, 2019. "A Note on the Role of Energy in Production," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 40-46.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:157:y:2019:i:c:p:40-46
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2018.11.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Fix, Blair & Nitzan, Jonathan & Bichler, Shimshon, 2019. "Real GDP: The Flawed Metric at the Heart of Macroeconomics," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 51-59.
    2. Leiva, Benjamin & Ramirez, Octavio A. & Schramski, John R., 2019. "A framework to consider energy transfers within growth theory," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 178(C), pages 624-630.
    3. Monasterolo, Irene & Roventini, Andrea & Foxon, Tim J., 2019. "Uncertainty of climate policies and implications for economics and finance: An evolutionary economics approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 163(C), pages 177-182.

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