Energy Content of World Trade

Wagner, Gernot

This paper constructs a comprehensive dataset of oil and total energy embedded in world trade of manufacturing goods for 73 countries from 1978 to 2000. Applying the data to debates on the dependency on foreign energy sources makes clear that achieving complete energy independence in the foreseeable future is unlikely to be feasible and may not be desirable. Applying it to the discussion of environmental Kuznets curves (EKCs) highlights an important distinction between production and consumption of energy. Richer countries use relatively less energy in their industrial production yet still consume relatively large amounts of energy indirectly. A further investigation largely excludes structural shifts of production in and out of the manufacturing sector as an explanation for the downward-sloping portion of the EKC. Country-level analyses add caveats but show tentative support for the cross-country conclusions.


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Academic Units
International and Public Affairs
Published Here
January 27, 2012


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