Cross-country convergence in energy and electricity consumption, 1971–2007
Patterns of convergence in per-capita consumption of energy and electricity are studied from a large cross-country data set covering the period 1971–2007. Along with unconditional β-convergence, we use σ-convergence criterion and a simple model of conditional β-convergence. The exploration is done for the entire period and several subperiods. In addition to OLS for the global sample, β-convergence is studied for top and bottom deciles through quantile regressions. Ten points are noted. First, global convergence in energy consumption is generally weak. Second, convergence in electricity usage is strong in most cases. Third, despite some variations, the patterns are fairly similar across the four periods. Fourth, energy convergence in both top and bottom deciles is generally weak, but there are some variations. Fifth, for electricity, convergence is noted in the top, but not in the bottom, decile. Sixth, unconditional β-convergence patterns are consistent with σ-convergence scenarios. Seventh, as is usually noted, convergence is more marked in conditional β-format than in the unconditional models. However, interpretation of conditional convergence in usage of energy or electricity is somewhat ambiguous. Eighth, weak convergence in energy usage might reflect a modestly larger increase in low-usage contexts relative to high-usage cases, and might not be of concern from the sustainability perspective. Ninth, strong convergence in electricity usage is associated with a much higher rate of global increase than the weakly-convergent energy usage. Last, the difference in convergence patterns for energy- and electricity-usage seems to merit further exploration.
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