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World Development
Article Title: There’s Technology Improvement, but is there Economy-wide Energy Leapfrogging? A Country Panel Analysis
Specialization Codes: 11 - Energy and the Economy, 15.1 - Energy Data, Modeling, and Policy Analysis, 8 - Energy and the Environment, 9 - Energy Efficiency,
Authors: Brantley Liddle, Hillard Huntington
Publication Date: 2021
Description: Energy leapfrogging may have critical implications for a world that seeks to reduce its fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions, and in which most future economic growth will be concentrated in rapidly growing, industrializing countries rather than in more mature economies. The current paper explores whether country-level data supports the conclusion that developing countries have lower energy intensities today than mature economies had when those mature economies had per capita income levels similar to developing countries now. We employ a broad sample of aggregate energy consumption, energy prices, and economic growth observations for 26/27 OECD and 34 non-OECD countries, spanning 1960-2016. Our price dataset is particularly novel in two ways: it includes (1) early industrializer-OECD observations from the 1960s and 1970s, and (2) a high number of recent (2007-2016) non-OECD observations. And thus, importantly, our work differs from previous estimates in the temporal comparison between mature and industrializing groups. Our study finds empirical support for energy leapfrogging, expressed as the energy intensity of income growth; we show that industrializing economies are adopting less energy-intensive, and by implication less polluting, economic activities when their income levels reach the same per-capita GDP levels as the more mature OECD countries did in previous decades.
Ordering Information: An addendum that provides additional leapfrogging evidence from an expanded dataset that contains more OECD observations from the 1960s and 1970s is available via: The expanded data are available at:
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