Measuring structural change and energy use: Decomposition of the US economy from 1997 to 2002
The steadily increasing focus on energy production and consumption has led to growing research attention to patterns of energy use within economies. Of particular interest has been comparing the driving forces of increasing efficiency and economic structural change. Input-output analysis (IOA) and decomposition analysis have become critical tools for performing such analyses. This study analyzes aggregate energy use in the United States in 1997 and 2002 to discover the causes of changing energy usage and flows. Results show that rising population and household consumption acted to drive up energy demand, but this driving force was offset by considerable structural change within the economy, particularly related to a quickly increasing trade deficit in manufacturing goods. Thus, while total energy intensity, the ratio of energy use to economic output, declined by approximately 12% between 1997 and 2002, changes in the structure of the economy explain this drop more than increased energy efficiency. The level of aggregation at which decomposition analyses are run was identified as a crucially sensitive parameter for the determination of structural change, and future studies should specifically address the amount of detail necessary to adequately measure changes in economic structure.
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