Econonomics of Energy and Environmental Policy

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The gravity of status quo: A review of IEA’s World Energy Outlook

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This paper reviews the methodology and methods behind IEA's World Energy Outlook (WEO) and offers a critical assessment of key assumptions and projections, focusing in particular on energy and the macro economy, technological change, and investment in new renewable energy. I argue that IEA's World Energy Outlook suffers from a status quo bias in favor of fossil fuels. This bias could be accidental, arising from professional conservatism, long-term vintage capital formation, and/or high adjustment costs. However, such a bias may also be also consistent with IEA's stakeholder interests of member nations, oil-prone governance systems, and close connections to the oil and fossil fuel industry.
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Keywords: energy economics, macroeconomics, modeling, political economy

DOI: 10.5547/2160-5890.8.2.kmoh

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Published in Volume 9, Number 1 of The Quarterly Journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.


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