Threshold Effects of Energy Price Changes
The effectiveness of policies to reduce the use of energy depend on the elasticity of substitution between the various inputs and on the rate of technological progress. This paper presents a theoretical model emphasising energy investments’ characteristics of uncertainty and irreversibility that result in hypotheses concerning the relative values of substitution parameters and rates of technological change in periods of high and increasing energy prices and in periods of low prices. The theoretical model suggests that threshold level effects exist. Firms are induced to substitute away from energy only if prices of energy exceed a certain threshold level and they reverse the technology only if prices are low enough. Using panel data for the Dutch economy we do not find threshold effects in the level of energy prices.
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