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Nonparametric estimates of the clean and dirty energy substitutability


  • Malikov, Emir
  • Sun, Kai
  • Kumbhakar, Subal C.


In growth theory, a greater-than-one elasticity of substitution between clean and dirty energy is among key necessary conditions for long-run green economic growth. Using parametric specifications, Papageorgiou et al. (2017) provide first estimates of this fundamentally important inter-energy substitution elasticity. We extend their work by relaxing restrictive functional-form assumptions about production technologies using flexible nonparametric methods. We find that the technological substitutability between clean and dirty energy inputs may not be that strong, especially in the case of a final-goods sector for which the inter-energy elasticity of substitution statistically exceeds one for at most a third of industries/countries. Hence, the favorability of technological conditions for long-run green growth may not be corroborated by the cross-country empirical evidence as strongly as previously thought.

Suggested Citation

  • Malikov, Emir & Sun, Kai & Kumbhakar, Subal C., 2018. "Nonparametric estimates of the clean and dirty energy substitutability," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 168(C), pages 118-122.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:168:y:2018:i:c:p:118-122
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2018.04.017

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Daron Acemoglu & Philippe Aghion & Leonardo Bursztyn & David Hemous, 2012. "The Environment and Directed Technical Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 131-166, February.
    2. Racine, Jeff & Li, Qi, 2004. "Nonparametric estimation of regression functions with both categorical and continuous data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 119(1), pages 99-130, March.
    3. repec:tpr:restat:v:99:y:2017:i:2:p:281-290 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item


    Aggregate production function; Clean and dirty energy; Cross-country analysis; Elasticity of substitution; Environmental policy; Green growth;

    JEL classification:

    • O44 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Environment and Growth
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy


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