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Models of energy use: putty-putty vs. putty-clay

  • Andrew Atkeson
  • Patrick J. Kehoe

Energy use is inelastic in time-series data, but elastic in international cross-section data. Two models of energy use reproduce these elasticities: a putty-putty model with adjustment costs developed by Pindyck and Rotemberg (1983) and a putty-clay model. In the Pindyck-Rotemberg model, capital and energy are highly complementary in both the short run and the long run. In the putty-clay model, capital and energy are complementary in the short run, but substitutable in the long run. We highlight the differences in the cross-section implications of the models by considering the effect of an energy tax on output in both models. In the putty-putty model, an energy tax that doubles the price of energy leads to a fall in output in the long run of 33%. In contrast, the same tax in the putty-clay model leads to a fall in output of only 5.3%.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Staff Report with number 230.

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Date of creation: 1997
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in American Economic Review (Vol. 89, No. 4, September 1999, pp. 1028-43)
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmsr:230
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  1. Julio J. Rotemberg & Michael Woodford, 1996. "Imperfect Competition and the Effects of Energy Price Increases on Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 5634, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Pindyck, Robert S & Rotemberg, Julio J, 1983. "Dynamic Factor Demands and the Effects of Energy Price Shocks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(5), pages 1066-79, December.
  3. Struckmeyer, Charles S, 1987. "The Putty-Clay Perspective on the Capital-Energy Complementarity Debate," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(2), pages 320-26, May.
  4. Cass, David & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1969. "The Implications of Alternative Saving and Expectations Hypotheses for Choices of Technique and Patterns of Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 77(4), pages 586-627, Part II, .
  5. Sakellaris, Plutarchos, 1997. "Irreversible Capital and the Stock Market Response to Shocks in Profitability," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 38(2), pages 351-79, May.
  6. Berndt, Ernst R & Wood, David O, 1975. "Technology, Prices, and the Derived Demand for Energy," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 57(3), pages 259-68, August.
  7. Pindyck, Robert S, 1979. "Interfuel Substitution and the Industrial Demand for Energy: An International Comparison," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 61(2), pages 169-79, May.
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