The Impacts of Energy Consumption of Changes in the Structure of US Manufacturing. Part 1: Overall Survey

Doblin, C.P. (1987). The Impacts of Energy Consumption of Changes in the Structure of US Manufacturing. Part 1: Overall Survey. IIASA Working Paper. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: WP-87-004

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Since the first oil price escalation of 1974, there has been considerable reduction in total energy use per unit of total output. This development has many names: increasing energy conservation, increasing energy productivity, or, conversely, decreasing energy intensity.

This study is concerned with the empirical analysis of factors directly responsible for this trend in the US manufacturing sector during the 1974-1980 period. Escalating oil prices are commonly believed to have prompted energy savings and conservation in the manufacturing sector -- just as they did to some extent in the case of household fuels and gasoline demand. However, the decreasing energy intensity of US manufacturing (and US industry) is a long-term development, coinciding at times with falling or stable energy prices, e.g., in the post-World War II period. In other words, the current energy intensity decrease was not created by rising oil prices alone. Hence for this period in history, at least, the role of price-induced substitution (as implied by the incorporation of energy resources in the production function) is less important than has some times been assumed. This is so because the forces at work to shape the energy intensity of the industry sector reflect the characteristics of an aging industrial society -- the shift from energy- (and labor-) intensive industries toward industries with lower energy (and labor) requirements and higher value added. This aging or maturing of the industrial sector is in sharp contrast to the rapidly increasing energy intensity of developing countries such as Mexico and Brazil.

The analysis is based on detailed statistics on structure and technology impact at two levels: aggregate of all sectors (total manufacturing) and the most energy-intensive industries that together absorb about 80% of total manufacturing input. The conclusions, and the underlying data, should be useful for further work in the study of industrial change as well as energy modeling.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Working Paper)
Research Programs: Technology, Economy, Society (TES)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 01:58
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:13

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