Energy content in manufacturing exports: a cross-country analysis
This paper compares the energy content in manufacturing exports in a set of 30 advanced and emerging economies and examines its evolution from 1995 to 2005. The paper combines information from the OECD input-output matrices and international trade data in 18 manufacturing sectors. Energy inputs are defined as those from sectors “coke, refined petroleum products and nuclear fuel” and “electricity, gas and water supply”. In addition, the value of energy inputs that is required for the production of one unit of output in a given manufacturing sector is defined as the corresponding sector's coefficient in the inverse Leontief matrix. Finally, these coefficients are weighted according to sectors' shares in countries' total manufacturing exports. The resulting indicator for the energy content of manufacturing exports is compared across countries in periods where comparable input-output matrices exist. The paper also suggests a methodology to disentangle the effects attributable to the structure of manufacturing exports and sectoral energy efficiency, presenting results according to technological categories. The paper concludes that Brazil, India and, mostly, China, present a high energy content in manufacturing exports, which has increased from 1995 to 2005. Conversely, many advanced economies, notably in Europe and North America, which showed energy contents below the world average in 1995, reinforced their position as relatively low energy intensive economies. The contribution of trade specialization and energy efficiency effects to explain differences in the energy content of exports draws attention to the situation of China. This country increased its relative energy usage in the exports of all technological categories of goods. Nevertheless, this effect was reinforced by the stronger export specialization in high-tech products and a comparatively lower specialization in medium-high-tech products.
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