Wednesday, November 2, 2011

1. Energy Use Per Capita Increases Over Time

This is the first of my posts on "Energy and Growth: The Stylized Facts". There is nothing definitive about these facts and eventually I might adopt a different set. Astrid Kander picked seven facts which only partially overlap with mine.

The first fact is true globally:

and within individual countries:

In Sweden per capita energy use has been stable, in fact, for the last few decades, but there is no sign of an environmental Kuznets curve type relationship where energy use per capita falls at high income levels. Of course, energy use might be falling in countries suffering falling income. So this fact might be better combined with the second one (energy use per capita is higher in richer countries) as; "Energy use per capita rises with income per capita both within and across countries". As we see in Sweden the rate of growth of energy use is probably also dependent on the rate of growth of the economy. In slower growing countries improvements in energy intensity might just balance the "scale effect". This isn't so surprising as we see the same thing for carbon and maybe sulfur.

But I stated this fact in terms of time because the assumption of standard growth models that innovation is continuous over time and, therefore, so is economic growth.

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