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Energy expenditure, economic growth, and the minimum EROI of society

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  • Victor Court

    () (EconomiX - UPN - Université Paris Nanterre - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Florian Fizaine

    ()

Abstract

We estimate energy expenditure for the US and world economies from 1850 to 2012. Periods of high energy expenditure relative to GDP (from 1850 to 1945), or spikes (1973–74 and 1978–79) are associated with low economic growth rates, and periods of low or falling energy expenditure are associated with high and rising economic growth rates (e.g. 1945–1973). Over the period 1960–2010 for which we have continuous year-to-year data for control variables (capital formation, population, and unemployment rate) we estimate that, statistically, in order to enjoy positive growth, the US economy cannot afford to spend more than 11% of its GDP on energy. Given the current energy intensity of the US economy, this translates in a minimum societal EROI of approximately 11:1 (or a maximum tolerable average price of energy of twice the current level). Granger tests consistently reveal a one way causality running from the level of energy expenditure (as a fraction of GDP) to economic growth in the US between 1960 and 2010. A coherent economic policy should be founded on improving net energy efficiency. This would yield a “double dividend”: increased societal EROI (through decreased energy intensity of capital investment), and decreased sensitivity to energy price volatility.
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Suggested Citation

  • Victor Court & Florian Fizaine, 2016. "Energy expenditure, economic growth, and the minimum EROI of society," Post-Print hal-01386048, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-01386048
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal-univ-paris10.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01386048
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    Cited by:

    1. Kallis, Giorgos & Sager, Jalel, 2017. "Oil and the economy: A systematic review of the literature for ecological economists," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 561-571.
    2. repec:eee:energy:v:178:y:2019:i:c:p:624-630 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:spr:bioerq:v:4:y:2019:i:1:d:10.1007_s41247-019-0053-z is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:12:p:4705-:d:189489 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Benjamin Leiva & Octavio Ramirez & John R. Schramski, 2018. "A theoretical framework to consider energy transfers within growth theory," Papers 1812.05091, arXiv.org.
    6. repec:spr:bioerq:v:4:y:2019:i:3:d:10.1007_s41247-019-0058-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:spr:bioerq:v:3:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s41247-018-0046-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:gam:jeners:v:11:y:2018:i:4:p:839-:d:139527 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:eee:energy:v:143:y:2018:i:c:p:732-745 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. repec:eee:ecolec:v:162:y:2019:i:c:p:108-120 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. repec:eee:enepol:v:120:y:2018:i:c:p:144-157 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. repec:spr:bioerq:v:4:y:2019:i:3:d:10.1007_s41247-019-0059-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. repec:ebl:ecbull:eb-17-00951 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. repec:spr:bioerq:v:3:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s41247-018-0035-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. repec:gam:jsusta:v:11:y:2019:i:18:p:4911-:d:265406 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Emmanuel Bovari & Victor Court, 2019. "Energy, knowledge, and demo-economic development in the long run: a unified growth model," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-01698755, HAL.
    17. repec:eee:appene:v:226:y:2018:i:c:p:1134-1162 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. repec:gam:jeners:v:10:y:2017:i:4:p:534-:d:95815 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. repec:spr:bioerq:v:3:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s41247-018-0048-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Adrien Fabre, 2018. "Evolution of EROIs of Electricity Until 2050: Estimation Using the Input-Output Model THEMIS," Policy Papers 2018.09, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.
    21. repec:gam:jeners:v:11:y:2018:i:9:p:2405-:d:169203 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N7 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • Q4 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy
    • Q57 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Ecological Economics

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