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General equilibrium impact of an energy-saving policy in the public sector


  • Philippe Quirion


  • Meriem Hamdi-Cherif


We analyse a disregarded environmental policy instrument: a switch in government expenditure away from energy (or other natural resources) and toward a composite good which includes energy-saving expenditure. We first develop two variants of an analytical general equilibrium model. A composite good is produced with constant returns to scale, and energy is imported or produced domestically with diminishing returns, yielding a differential rent to its owners. The government purchases energy and composite goods from private firms. Such a policy unambiguously increases employment. It also raises private consumption and welfare under two conditions: (i) it is not too costly and (ii) the initial share of the resource is smaller in public spending than in private consumption, or the difference is small enough. We then run numerically a model featuring both importation and domestic production of energy (oil, gas and electricity), for the OECD as a whole. Simulations show that employment, welfare and private consumption rise. We provide magnitudes for different parameter values.
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Suggested Citation

  • Philippe Quirion & Meriem Hamdi-Cherif, 2007. "General equilibrium impact of an energy-saving policy in the public sector," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 38(2), pages 245-258, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:38:y:2007:i:2:p:245-258
    DOI: 10.1007/s10640-006-9075-2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bovenberg, A. L. & van der Ploeg, F., 1994. "Environmental policy, public finance and the labour market in a second-best world," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 349-390, November.
    2. Goulder, Lawrence H. & Parry, Ian W. H. & Williams III, Roberton C. & Burtraw, Dallas, 1999. "The cost-effectiveness of alternative instruments for environmental protection in a second-best setting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 329-360, June.
    3. Dixon, Huw & Lawler, Phillip, 1996. " Imperfect Competition and the Fiscal Multiplier," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 98(2), pages 219-231, June.
    4. Bosello, Francesco & Carraro, Carlo & Galeotti, Marzio, 2001. "The double dividend issue: modeling strategies and empirical findings," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(01), pages 9-45, February.
    5. David Dixon, Huw & Thustrup Hansen, Claus, 1999. "A mixed industrial structure magnifies the importance of menu costs," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(8), pages 1475-1499, August.
    6. William D. Nordhaus, 1973. "The Allocation of Energy Resources," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 4(3), pages 529-576.
    7. Heijdra, Ben J & Ligthart, Jenny E & van der Ploeg, Frederick, 1998. "Fiscal Policy, Distortionary Taxation, and Direct Crowding Out under Monopolistic Competition," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(1), pages 79-88, January.
    8. Jaffe, Adam B. & Stavins, Robert N., 1994. "The energy-efficiency gap What does it mean?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(10), pages 804-810, October.
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    More about this item


    Resource conservation; Energy conservation; Public spending; Employment; General equilibrium; Multi-sectors models; E62; H57; Q38;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H57 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Procurement
    • Q38 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy (includes OPEC Policy)


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