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The Energy-GDP Nexus; Addressing an old question with new methods

  • R.J. Coers
  • M. Sanders

This paper reassesses the causal relationship between per capita energy use and gross domestic product, while controlling for capital and labour (productivity) inputs in a panel of 30 OECD countries over the past 40 years. The paper uses panel unit root and cointegration testing and specifies an appropriate vector error correction model to analyse the nexus between income and energy use. In doing so we contribute to an old debate using modern tools that shed a new light. There is some evidence that over the short-run bidirectional causality exists. Our results also show a strong unidirectional causality running from capital formation and GDP to energy usage. In the long run the reverse causality, found in recent work, is lost. We then show that we can reproduce these earlier results in our data if we reproduce a slightly misspecified model for the Engle-Granger two-step procedure used in these earlier papers. Our findings thus imply that results are very sensitive to model misspecification and careful testing of specifications is required. Our results have some strong policy implications. They suggest that policies aimed at reducing energy usage or promoting energy efficiency are not likely to have a detrimental effect on economic growth, except over the very short run.

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Paper provided by Utrecht School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 12-01.

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Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:use:tkiwps:1201
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  17. Sinha, Dipendra, 2009. "The energy consumption-GDP nexus: Panel data evidence from 88 countries," MPRA Paper 18446, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  18. Pasaran, M.H. & Im, K.S. & Shin, Y., 1995. "Testing for Unit Roots in Heterogeneous Panels," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 9526, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  19. Abul Masih & Rumi Masih, 1998. "A multivariate cointegrated modelling approach in testing temporal causality between energy consumption, real income and prices with an application to two Asian LDCs," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(10), pages 1287-1298.
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  23. Engle, Robert & Granger, Clive, 2015. "Co-integration and error correction: Representation, estimation, and testing," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 39(3), pages 106-135.
  24. Narayan, Paresh Kumar & Smyth, Russell, 2008. "Energy consumption and real GDP in G7 countries: New evidence from panel cointegration with structural breaks," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 2331-2341, September.
  25. Mahadevan, Renuka & Asafu-Adjaye, John, 2007. "Energy consumption, economic growth and prices: A reassessment using panel VECM for developed and developing countries," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 2481-2490, April.
  26. Maddala, G S & Wu, Shaowen, 1999. " A Comparative Study of Unit Root Tests with Panel Data and a New Simple Test," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 61(0), pages 631-52, Special I.
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