Energy Consumption, Technological Progress and Economic Policy

Prof. Théophile Azomahou, Université Louis Pasteur , Strasbourg


We first provide an empirical study of the energy-saving technological progress on the ENERDATA database. Energy intensity is shown to decrease over the period 1971-1999 in OECD countries, indicating a significant energy-saving technical progress trend. We also show via semiparametric partially linear estimations that: (i) this trend is positively correlated with the investment rate, and (ii) the marginal productivity of investment has accelerated in the sub-period 1985-1999 compared to 1971-1984. Second, we build a general equilibrium vintage capital model with embodied energy-saving technical progress to formalize these
findings. In this set-up, we study to which extent a steady increase in the marginal productivity of investment and/or scrapping subsidies could compensate the output loss due to a cut in energy use. The latter fiscal policy is shown to be particularly inefficient in this respect, even under rapid energy-saving technical progress. In the end, our model predicts that the implementation of Kyoto-like protocols in the computers age is much less painful than what it could have been two decades ago.

(Co-authors: Raouf Boucekkine and Phu Nguyen Van)


Prof. Azomahou obtained his Ph.D in December 2000 from the Université Louis Pasteur in Strasbourg. Since 2001 he is working as associate professor of economics and co-director of the master course in “Statistics and Econometrics” at the same university. Since 2005 he holds the position of Chair in Econometrics at the École National des Ponts et Chaussées in Paris. Fields of interest: Economic Growth and Macroeconomics, (energy-saving technological progress, environmentally sustainable growth, development economics); Statistics and Econometrics.

Venue: UNU-MERIT, Maastricht, Conference Room, 12:00 hours

Date: 30 January 2007