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Autonomous efficiency improvement or income elasticity of energy demand: Does it matter?

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  • Webster, Mort
  • Paltsev, Sergey
  • Reilly, John

Abstract

Observations of historical energy consumption, energy prices, and income growth in industrial economies exhibit a trend in improving energy efficiency even when prices are constant or falling. Two alternative explanations of this phenomenon are: a productivity change that uses less energy and a structural change in the economy in response to rising income. It is not possible to distinguish among these from aggregate data, and economic energy models for forecasting emissions simulate one, as an exogenous time trend, or the other, as energy demand elasticity with respect to income, or both processes for projecting energy demand into the future. In this paper, we ask whether and how it matters which process one uses for projecting energy demand and carbon emissions. We compare two versions of the MIT Emissions Prediction and Policy Analysis (EPPA) model, one using a conventional efficiency time trend approach and the other using an income elasticity approach. We demonstrate that while these two versions yield equivalent projections in the near-term, that they diverge in two important ways: long-run projections and under uncertainty in future productivity growth. We suggest that an income dependent approach may be preferable to the exogenous approach.

Suggested Citation

  • Webster, Mort & Paltsev, Sergey & Reilly, John, 2008. "Autonomous efficiency improvement or income elasticity of energy demand: Does it matter?," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 2785-2798, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:30:y:2008:i:6:p:2785-2798
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    Cited by:

    1. Alberini, Anna & Gans, Will & Velez-Lopez, Daniel, 2011. "Residential consumption of gas and electricity in the U.S.: The role of prices and income," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 870-881, September.
    2. Okullo, Samuel J. & Reynès, Frédéric, 2011. "Can reserve additions in mature crude oil provinces attenuate peak oil?," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 5755-5764.
    3. Octaviano, Claudia & Paltsev, Sergey & Gurgel, Angelo Costa, 2016. "Climate change policy in Brazil and Mexico: Results from the MIT EPPA model," Energy Economics, Elsevier, pages 600-614.
    4. Miklós Antal & Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh, 2014. "Energy Rebound Due to Re-spending. A Growing Concern," WIFO Working Papers 463, WIFO.
    5. Olivier Durand-Lasserve & Lorenza Campagnolo & Jean Chateau & Rob Dellink, 2015. "Modelling of distributional impacts of energy subsidy reforms: an illustration with Indonesia," OECD Environment Working Papers 86, OECD Publishing.
    6. Baffes, John & Dennis, Allen, 2013. "Long-term drivers of food prices," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6455, The World Bank.
    7. Lim, Jong-Soo & Kim, Yong-Gun, 2012. "Combining carbon tax and R&D subsidy for climate change mitigation," Energy Economics, Elsevier, pages 496-502.
    8. Chen, Y.-H. Henry & Paltsev, Sergey & Reilly, John M. & Morris, Jennifer F. & Babiker, Mustafa H., 2016. "Long-term economic modeling for climate change assessment," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 52(PB), pages 867-883.
    9. John Baffes, 2014. "Global Economic Prospects : Commodity Markets Outlook, October 2014," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 20455.
    10. Xavier Labandeira & Baltazar Manzano, 2012. "Some Economic Aspects of Energy Security," European Research Studies Journal, European Research Studies Journal, pages 47-64.
    11. Fujimori, Shinichiro & Dai, Hancheng & Masui, Toshihiko & Matsuoka, Yuzuru, 2016. "Global energy model hindcasting," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 293-301.
    12. Ashwin K Seshadri, 2017. "Economics of limiting cumulative CO2 emissions," Papers 1706.03502, arXiv.org.
    13. Emmerling, Johannes & Drouet, Laurent Drouet & Reis, Lara Aleluia & Bevione, Michela & Berger, Loic & Bosetti, Valentina & Carrara, Samuel & De Cian, Enrica & De Maere D'Aertrycke, Gauthier & Longden,, 2016. "The WITCH 2016 Model - Documentation and Implementation of the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways," MITP: Mitigation, Innovation,and Transformation Pathways 240748, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
    14. Bhattacharyya, Subhes C., 2015. "Influence of India’s transformation on residential energy demand," Applied Energy, Elsevier, pages 228-237.
    15. Shrestha, Ram M. & Rajbhandari, Salony, 2010. "Energy and environmental implications of carbon emission reduction targets: Case of Kathmandu Valley, Nepal," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 4818-4827, September.
    16. Chang, Yoosoon & Choi, Yongok & Kim, Chang Sik & Miller, J. Isaac & Park, Joon Y., 2016. "Disentangling temporal patterns in elasticities: A functional coefficient panel analysis of electricity demand," Energy Economics, Elsevier, pages 232-243.
    17. Chang, Yoosoon & Choi, Yongok & Kim, Chang Sik & Miller, J. Isaac & Park, Joon Y., 2016. "Disentangling temporal patterns in elasticities: A functional coefficient panel analysis of electricity demand," Energy Economics, Elsevier, pages 232-243.
    18. DURAND-LASSERVE, Olivier & Pierru , Axel & SMEERS, Yves, 2012. "Sensitivity of policy simulation to benchmark scenarios in CGE models: illustration with carbon leakage," CORE Discussion Papers 2012063, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    19. Antal, Miklós & van den Bergh, Jeroen C.J.M., 2014. "Re-spending rebound: A macro-level assessment for OECD countries and emerging economies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 585-590.
    20. repec:ers:journl:v:xv:y:2012:i:sie:p:47-64 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Xavier Labandeira & Baltazar Manzano, 2012. "Some Economic Aspects of Energy Security," European Research Studies Journal, European Research Studies Journal, pages 47-64.
    22. Pablo Salas, 2013. "Literature Review of Energy-Economics Models, Regarding Technological Change and Uncertainty," 4CMR Working Paper Series 003, University of Cambridge, Department of Land Economy, Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research.
    23. Sharabaroff, Alexander & Boyd, Roy & Chimeli, Ariaster, 2009. "The environmental and efficiency effects of restructuring on the electric power sector in the United States: An empirical analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(11), pages 4884-4893, November.
    24. Steinbuks, Jevgenijs & Neuhoff, Karsten, 2014. "Assessing energy price induced improvements in efficiency of capital in OECD manufacturing industries," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 340-356.

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