nep-ene New Economics Papers
on Energy Economics
Issue of 2009‒03‒14
23 papers chosen by
Roger Fouquet
Imperial College, UK

  1. Smart Metering and Electricity Demand: Technology, Economics and International Experience By Brophy Haney, A.; Jamasb, T.; Pollitt, M.G.
  2. The Impact of Technological Change and Lifestyles on the Energy Demand of Households. A Combination of Aggregate and Individual Household Analysis By Kurt Kratena; Ina Meyer; Michael Wüger
  3. Trade in Energy Services: GATS and India By Arpita Mukherjee
  4. Does Liberalisation cause more Electricity Blackouts? Evidence from a Global Study of Newspaper Reports By Yu, W.; Pollitt, M.G.
  5. Yardstick and Ex-post Regulation by Norm Model: Empirical Equivalence, Pricing Effect, and Performance in Sweeden By Jamasb, T.; Söderberg, M.
  6. China’s Energy Economy: A Survey of the Literature By Hengyun Ma; Les Oxley
  7. Is the “curse of natural resources” really a curse? By Pietro F. Peretto
  8. Transforming natural resource wealth into sustained growth and poverty reduction : a conceptual framework for Sub-Saharan African oil exporting countries By Toto Same, Achille
  9. Do Structural Oil-Market Shocks Affect Stock Prices? By Nicholas Apergis; Stephen M. Miller
  10. The Welfare Implications of Oil Privatisation: A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Norway’s Statoil By Wolf, C.; Pollitt, M.G.
  11. Climate Mitigation or Technological Revolution? A Critical Choice of Futures By Graeme Donald Snooks
  12. International Environmental Cooperation: A New Eye on the Greenhouse Gases Emissions’ Control By Mélanie Heugues
  13. Productive Base Sustainability under Climate Change: Theoretical Results and Empirical Evidence By Dimitra, Vouvaki; Anastasios, Xepapadeas
  14. A Symmetric Safety Valve By Burtraw, Dallas; Palmer, Karen; Kahn, Danny
  15. The WTO and Environmental Provisions: Three Categories of Trade and Environment Linkage By Setareh Khalilian
  16. Simulating a Sequential Coalition Formation Process for the Climate Change Problem: First Come, but Second Served? By Finus, Michael; Rundshagen, Bianca; Eyckmans, Johan
  17. Environmental Policy under Ambiguity By Leon Vinokur
  18. Policy Instruments for Evolution of Bounded Rationality: Application to Climate-Energy Problems By Nannen, Volker; van den Bergh, Jeroen C. J. M.
  19. International Support for Domestic Climate Policies By Neuhoff, K.
  20. On the Relation between Dual-Rate Discounting and Substitutability By Kögel, Tomas
  21. Should We Discount the Far-Distant Future at Its Lowest Possible Rate? By Gollier, Christian
  22. Now or Never: Environmental Protection under Hyperbolic Discounting By Winkler, Ralph
  23. Siblings, not triplets: social preferences for risk, inequality and time in discounting climate change By Atkinson, Giles D.; Dietz, Simon; Helgeson, Jennifer; Hepburn, Cameron; Sælen, Håkon

  1. By: Brophy Haney, A.; Jamasb, T.; Pollitt, M.G.
    Abstract: In recent years smart metering of electricity demand has attracted attention around the world. A number of countries and regions have started deploying new metering systems; and many others have set targets for deployment or are undertaking trials. Across the board advances in technology and international experience characterize the metering landscape as a fast-changing one. These changes are taking place at a time when increasing emphasis is being placed on the role of the demand-side in improving the efficiency of energy markets, enhancing security of supply and in unlocking the benefits of energy and carbon savings. Innovative forms of metering can be a useful tool in achieving an active demand-side and moving beyond a supply-focused sector. In this paper we focus in particular on smart metering in liberalized electricity markets. We firstly set the context for innovative electricity metering in terms of policy, the role and market structure for metering, and the potential for smart metering to increase demand-side participation. We then provide an overview of new metering technologies by examining international trends, the various components of smart metering systems, and the likely future developments. Next we assess the economics of smart meters focusing on the costs and benefits of smart metering and the distribution of these. We review the evidence in Europe, North America and Australia; we look at how countries and regions have differed in their approaches and how these differences have had an impact on policy making. We conclude by outlining the main challenges that remain, particularly in technology choice and its regulation, the methodology of analyzing costs and benefits and the role of uncertainty in investment and policy making.
    Keywords: Electricity demand, smart meter, energy saving, demand-side participation.
    JEL: L94 Q41 Q48
    Date: 2009–02
  2. By: Kurt Kratena (WIFO); Ina Meyer (WIFO); Michael Wüger (WIFO)
    Abstract: This paper deals with integrating technology as well as lifestyles as driving forces of energy demand into a model of total private consumption. Private consumption is determined by economic variables like income and prices as well as these other factors. Technology is represented by variables measuring the efficiency of households' capital stocks and lifestyles by socio-demographic variables. Data for both types of variables are available in cross section consumer surveys and in time series data of aggregate consumption. The cross section surveys provide information on income and socio-demographic factors relevant for energy demand (characteristics of building and population density). The time series data contain information on prices and income as well as the energy efficiency embodied in household appliances. The final model of consumption consists of a consistent combination of both time series and cross section information into one comprehensive econometric model. This model describes demand for energy and non-energy commodities in an almost ideal demand system (AIDS) and is used in ex-post simulation exercises to isolate the impact of technological and socio-demographic variables on the demand for gasoline/diesel, heating and electricity.
    Keywords: household energy demand, rebound effects, efficiency of appliances, lifestyles
    Date: 2009–02–18
  3. By: Arpita Mukherjee
    Abstract: India’s opportunities and constraints to trade in energy services within the GATS framework are examined. The study found that India has the capability of exporting high-skilled manpower at competitive prices but is facing various market access, discriminatory and regulatory barriers in markets of export interest. [WP No. 231].
    Keywords: high skilled man power, markets, export barriers, energy services, prices, trade, India, energy, oil, coal, GATS, production, construction
    Date: 2009
  4. By: Yu, W.; Pollitt, M.G.
    Abstract: There is a public perception that electricity liberalisation is the major cause of recent electricity blackouts. This is reflected in the newspaper reporting of blackouts. By contrast, it was not listed as a cause in any official investigation reports. In this paper, we examine the common causes of a number of large blackouts worldwide by applying the qualitative content analysis technique to different investigation reports. We generate a regional blackout dataset, spanning European, Latin American and Asian regions, by using news articles derived from the Factiva database. We use the random effects model and sample means techniques in a detailed examination of the effect of liberalisation and regional factors on the number of ‘small’ electricity blackouts between 1998 and 2007. The results indicate that, contrary to what we might expect, liberalisation does not have a significant statistical effect on the frequency of small blackouts. The perception that there is an increase in the number of blackouts after liberalisation seems to be shaped by the media’s reporting of individual ‘large’ incidents rather than the number of incidents reported.
    Keywords: power outage, electricity blackouts, liberalisation
    JEL: L15 L51 L94
    Date: 2009–03
  5. By: Jamasb, T.; Söderberg, M.
    Abstract: Following the liberalisation of network industries there has been a number of innovations in incentive regulation. This paper examines the effects of the application of norm models within an ex-post incentive regulation of electricity distribution networks in Sweden. We first examine the empirical equivalence of norm models to real utilities. Next, we estimate the effect of regulation on pricing behaviour and performance of utilities in average costs, quality of service, and network energy losses. The norm models seem to reflect the main network features, demand characteristics, and capital stocks of real utilities. However, the price of labour affects relative performance. Also, quality of service has not affected the relative performance of utilities, indicating that incentives may be weak. Moreover, on the whole, utilities respond to norm models and incentives and reduce their average prices. However, investor-owned utilities that perform better than their norm models behave strategically and increase their prices. We also find that investor-owned utilities reduce (inflate) their average cost if they perform worse (better) than the benchmark. Public utilities have not adjusted their costs significantly in response to the incentives. Furthermore, we do not find evidence of improvement in quality of service and reduction in network energy losses although less efficient investor-owned networks seem to have improved on both fronts. Finally, efficient investor-owned utilities seem to have reduced their quality of service in terms of outage length.
    Keywords: Regulation, incentive, electricity, Sweden
    JEL: L33 L52 L94
    Date: 2009–02
  6. By: Hengyun Ma; Les Oxley (University of Canterbury)
    Abstract: This paper reviews literature on China’s energy economics, focusing especially on: i) the relationship between energy consumption and economic growth, ii) China’s changing energy intensity, iii) energy demand and energy -capital and -labor substitution, iv) the emergence of energy markets in China, vi) and policy reforms in the energy industry. After reviewing the literature, the study presents the main findings and suggests some topics for further study.
    Keywords: China; Energy; Literature
    JEL: D24 O33 Q41
    Date: 2009–02–16
  7. By: Pietro F. Peretto
    Date: 2009–03–12
  8. By: Toto Same, Achille
    Abstract: Oil and mineral revenues raise national savings and hence facilitate investment, capital accumulation, and sustained growth; thus, there are benefits of owning large natural resources. There can be a significant spillover effect from the oil sector to the non-oil sector particularly if governments are committed to bridge the infrastructure gap and promote the non-oil economy and foremost the non-oil tradable sector. Consequently, the capacity for coordinated policy formulation and execution is fundamental as well as sound windfall management mechanisms and institutions. This conceptual framework uses the case of Indonesia and the example of Norway to argue that the resource paradox is avoidable. Abundance should not be a curse, but rather a blessing for Sub-Saharan Africa's oil and mineral exporting countries. The country context and political economy matter a great deal but should not be the main driving forces behind windfall management, to avoid excessive rent-seeking activities, inefficiency, and wasteful spending. The EITI++ implementation can contribute to make a difference, mostly through capacity building, implementation assistance, and coordination support.
    Keywords: Economic Theory&Research,Debt Markets,Currencies and Exchange Rates,,Access to Finance
    Date: 2009–03–01
  9. By: Nicholas Apergis (University of Piraeus); Stephen M. Miller (University of Connecticut and University of Nevada, Las Vegas)
    Abstract: This paper investigates how explicit structural shocks that characterize the endogenous character of oil price changes affect stock-market returns in a sample of eight countries --- Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. For each country, the analysis proceeds in two steps. First, modifying the procedure of Kilian (2008a), we employ a vector error-correction or vector autoregressive model to decompose oil-price changes into three components: oil-supply shocks, global aggregate-demand shocks, and global oil-demand shocks. The last component relates to specific idiosyncratic features of the oil market, such as changes in the precautionary demand concerning the uncertainty about the availability of future oil supplies. Second, recovering the oil-supply shocks, global aggregate-demand shocks, and global oil-demand shocks from the first analysis, we then employ a vector autoregressive model to determine the effects of these structural shocks on the stock market returns in our sample of eight countries. We find that international stock market returns do not respond in a large way to oil market shocks. That is, the significant effects that exist prove small in magnitude.
    Keywords: real stock returns; structural oil-price shocks; variance decomposition
    JEL: G12 Q43
    Date: 2008–07
  10. By: Wolf, C.; Pollitt, M.G.
    Abstract: The oil industry is of great economic significance to many countries, and privatisations of National Oil Companies (NOCs) have often been controversial, as have been the benefits from privatisation more generally. We conduct a social cost-benefit analysis of the partial privatisation of Norway’s Statoil and estimate net present welfare improvements of at least NOK 166 billion (US$18.4 billion) in 2001 money, which amounts to 11% of Norway’s GDP in that year. Savings on investment costs are the most important source of efficiency improvements, and two thirds of the overall benefits accrue at fellow stakeholders in Statoil-led operations. The state manages to capture 66% of the total welfare gain, with the remainder going to private shareholders and no changes to consumer surplus. It is shown that benefits from partial privatisation can be substantial, particularly if ownership change is supported by additional restructuring measures, and that privatisation can be structured with state involvement at several levels, aiming to maximise the public share of benefits.
    Keywords: Privatisation, Cost-Benefit, Welfare, Oil and Gas, Norway
    JEL: D61 H43 L33 L71 Q48
    Date: 2009–03–11
  11. By: Graeme Donald Snooks
    Abstract: Mankind currently is not only facing a major environmental challenge, it is embarking on a hugely risky enterprise — that of climate mitigation. This unprecedented global adventure is an attempt to change the nature and shape of human society on the grounds that our traditional market system has failed us. The current enterprise is hugely risky because it is based not on what has happened but on what we are told by “climate-mitigation engineers” might happen. The argument in this essay is simple but powerful, and can be outlined in the following five propositions: • The science of climate change is challenging but compelling, based as it is on an impressive and growing body of expert empirical research. What it shows is that recent climate change is human induced. Hence, further climate change and its mitigation are problems primarily for the social not natural sciences. • The “science” of climate mitigation is nonexistent, because orthodox social science has failed to model the dynamics of human society. And it is the dynamics of human society that will largely determine future climate change. • Orthodox economics, which has attempted to fill the void, has failed completely. Economic theory is suitable only for the analysis of small, shortrun issues that can be accommodated within a static framework — such as the price of a cup of tea; whereas the issue of climate mitigation is one of the biggest and most important issues humanity will ever face, it is long-run in nature, and it can only be adequately handled within a dynamic framework. As orthodox economics has been unable to develop a realist general dynamic theory, its practitioners have been forced to employ simplistic historicist models when analyzing future climate change. • What we need is a new science of human dynamics. The basis for this new science is provided by the author’s dynamic-strategy theory. It is a realist theory in the sense that it has been derived from a long-term, systematic observation of the fluctuating fortunes of both human society over the past 2 million years (myrs) and life over the past 4,000 myrs. • Economists have massively underestimated the costs of their proposed climate mitigation program aimed at stabilizing greenhouse-gas concentrations, because they have employed the inadequate static cost–benefit methodology. This essay takes a very different approach. By estimating the dynamic costs — essentially the costs of suppressing the imminent technological revolution that can only be identified in a realist dynamic framework — I have found that total costs will be almost 100 times greater than current estimates by the year 2100. This puts a comprehensive mitigation program totally out of the question. What, then, is to be done? This essay provides the answer.
    Keywords: climate mitigation, technological revolution, human dynamics, economic intervention, dynamic costs and benefits
    JEL: Q54 Q40 Q20 O30 O40 O47 P1
    Date: 2009–02
  12. By: Mélanie Heugues
    Abstract: We examine the formation of International Environmental Agreements (IEAs) modelled as a two-stage non cooperative game. Following Barrett (1994), Finus (2001) and Diamantoudi & al. (2006) and filling out their approach, we analyse the level of cooperation that can be reach when countries’ strategies are complementary. We find that when strategies exhibit weak complementarities, the unique stable agreement can consist of half the countries involved in the negotiation and thus, without any form of commitment, linkage or transfers between countries. These results, established analytically, strongly contrast with those of the previous authors and are a lot more optimistic. Nonetheless, even if the incentives to free-ride are less strong, we do not observe the formation of the “grand” coalition: not all the countries sign the agreement. We also provide some results of comparative static. We analyse, for example, the level of cooperation which only depends on the number of countries concerned with the problem of climate change and on the perception they have of its seriousness.
    Date: 2009–03
  13. By: Dimitra, Vouvaki; Anastasios, Xepapadeas
    Abstract: Climate change is one of the most urgent and severe problems on the international agenda and one of the basic factors that determine sustainability conditions. This paper attempts to reveal the connection between productive base sustainability for two large groups of countries, developed and developing, and the state of the environment, which is proxied by the stock of carbon dioxide (CO2) which is mostly responsible for the creation of the global warming phenomenon. Three different policy scenaria for the evolution of global CO2 emissions empirically con.rm the strong association between the state of the environment and productive base sustainability, and provide the foundations for the formulation of sustainability policy.
    Keywords: Productive base sustainability, current change in social welfare, accounting prices, non-optimizing economies
    JEL: Q01
    Date: 2009
  14. By: Burtraw, Dallas (Resources for the Future); Palmer, Karen (Resources for the Future); Kahn, Danny
    Abstract: How to set policy in the presence of uncertainty has been central in debates over climate policy. Concern about costs has motivated the proposal for a cap-and-trade program for carbon dioxide, with a “safety valve” that would mitigate against spikes in the cost of emission reductions by introducing additional emission allowances into the market when marginal costs rise above the specified allowance price level. We find two significant problems, both stemming from the asymmetry of an instrument that mitigates only against a price increase. One is that most important examples of price volatility in cap-andtrade programs have occurred not when prices spiked, but instead when allowance prices collapsed. Second, a single-sided safety valve may have unintended consequences for investment. We illustrate that a symmetric safety valve provides environmental and welfare improvements relative to the conventional one-sided approach.
    Keywords: emission allowance trading, climate change, safety valve, cost management, cap and trade, market-based policies
    JEL: Q4 L94 L5
    Date: 2009–02–27
  15. By: Setareh Khalilian
    Abstract: The current WTO jurisdiction on linkages of trade and environment is not free of contradictions and has provided for heated debate due to some inconsistencies in past WTO rulings. The article argues that the WTO jurisdiction is not only unclear but also lacks economic reasoning. It aims to structure WTO provisions and WTO case rulings so that their application to three separate dimensions of environmental damage is set out clearly: domestic, cross-border and global pollution. The paper concludes is that only cases of cross-border and global pollution can legitimize trade measures against environmental pollution, albeit only direct trade interventions are really effective in these cases
    Keywords: WTO, environment, trade sanctions
    JEL: F13 F18 K33 B52
    Date: 2009–02
  16. By: Finus, Michael; Rundshagen, Bianca; Eyckmans, Johan
    Abstract: We analyze stability of self-enforcing climate agreements based on a data set generated by the CLIMNEG world simulation model (CWSM), version 1.2. We consider two new aspects which appear important in actual treaty-making. First, we consider a sequential coalition formation process where players can make proposals which are either accepted or countered by other proposals. Second, we analyze whether a moderator, like an international organization, even without enforcement power, can improve upon globally suboptimal outcomes through coordinating actions by making recommendations that must be Pareto-improving to all parties. We discuss the conceptual difficulties of implementing our algorithm.
    Keywords: International Climate Agreements; Sequential Coalition Formation; Coordination through Moderator; Integrated Assessment Model; Algorithm for Computa tions
    Date: 2009–03
  17. By: Leon Vinokur (Queen Mary, University of London)
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to extend existing literature on carbon allowance allocation, investigating the impact of uncertainty and ambiguity, due to the lack of future Environmental policy, on the total production in the market. Specifically, we show that an increase in uncertainty has no effect on the total output, whereas an increase in ambiguity leads to a decrease in the total output. An output-based allocation model in Cournot Oligopoly will be used. We will adopt the National Allocation Plan (NAP) of UK for the Second Phase (2005-07) as a case study.
    Keywords: Carbon allowances, Permits allocation, EU ETS, Uncertainty
    JEL: D2 D8 Q4
    Date: 2009–03
  18. By: Nannen, Volker; van den Bergh, Jeroen C. J. M.
    Abstract: We demonstrate how an evolutionary agent-based model can be used to evaluate climate policies that take the heterogeneity of strategies of individual agents into account. An essential feature of the model is that the fitness of an economic strategy is determined by the relative welfare of the associated agent as compared to its immediate neighbors in a social network. This enables the study of policies that affect relative positions of individuals. We formulate two innovative climate policies, namely `prizes', altering directly relative welfare, and `advertisement', which influences the social network of interactions. The policies are illustrated using a simple model of global warming where a resource with a negative environmental impact---fossil energy---can be replaced by an environmentally neutral yet less cost effective alternative, namely renewable energy. It is shown that the general approach enlarges the scope of economic policy analysis.
    Keywords: agent-based modeling; behavioral economics; climate policy; evolutionary economics; relative welfare; social network
    JEL: B52 H23 Q54 C73
    Date: 2009–01–14
  19. By: Neuhoff, K.
    Abstract: Domestic climate policies play an important part in shifting countries towards a low-carbon development trajectory. Six case studies explore the domestic drivers and barriers for policies with climate (co-)benefits in developing countries. International support can help to overcome these constraints by providing additional resources for incremental policy costs, technical assistance, and technology cooperation to build local capacity. Any such cooperation has to build on domestic stakeholder support for policies with climate co-benefits. Policy indicators play an important role for successful policy implementation. They facilitate monitoring of intermediate policy outcomes, international comparison of best practice, internal management for effective implementation and can be linked to international incentive schemes. As they are more responsive to successful implementation, indicators can be aligned with political time scales to provide early reward and reduce the uncertainty associated with predicting the long-term impacts of transformational policies on emissions reductions.
    Keywords: Policy instrument, international cooperation, intermediate indicators, climate policy
    JEL: D78 H0 O38
    Date: 2009–03
  20. By: Kögel, Tomas
    Abstract: To justify substantial emission reductions, recent literature on cost-benefit analysis of climate change suggests discounting environment consumption with an environmental discount rate instead of a consumption discount rate that is usually used in cost-benefit analysis. The present study clarifies that whether or not this dual-rate discounting approach succeeds in justifying substantial emission reductions depends on whether or not environment and goods consumption are substitutes in the Hicks-Allen sense and in the Edgeworth-Pareto sense (substitutes in the Hicks-Allen sense implies the Hicksian goods demand to be increasing in the relative price of environmental goods, while substitutes in the Edgeworth-Pareto sense implies the marginal utility of goods consumption to be decreasing in environment consumption). Moreover, a low intratemporal elasticity of substitution between environment and goods consumption within a period contributes to a low environmental discount rate in comparison to the consumption discount rate, while a low intertemporal elasticity of substitution between composite consumption of different periods contributes to declining discount rates over time.
    Keywords: Discounting, dual-rate discounting, environmental discount rate, cost-benefit analysis, climate change
    JEL: D90 H43 Q28
    Date: 2009
  21. By: Gollier, Christian
    Abstract: In this paper, we elaborate on an idea initially developed by Weitzman (1998) that justifies taking the lowest possible discount rate for far-distant future cash flows. His argument relies on the arbitrary assumption that when the future rate of return of capital (RRC) is uncertain, one should invest in any project with a positive expected net present value. We examine an economy with a risk-averse representative agent facing an uncertain evolution of the RRC. In this context, we characterize the socially efficient stochastic consumption path, which allows us in turn to use the Ramsey rule to characterize the term structure of socially efficient discount rates. We show that Weitzman’s claim is qualitatively correct if shocks on the RRC are persistent. On the contrary, in the absence of any serial correlation in the RRC, the term structure of discount rates should be flat.
    Keywords: Discount rate, term structure, certainty equivalent rate, Ramsey rule, sustainable development
    JEL: E43 G12 Q51
    Date: 2009
  22. By: Winkler, Ralph
    Abstract: The author analyzes the optimal investment in environmental protection in a model of an infinite series of non-overlapping hyperbolically discounting agents. He shows that without a commitment mechanism society is eventually stuck in a situation where all agents prefer further investment in the long run, yet neither present nor future agents will actually ever invest. Such an outcome is not only unsatisfactory for each generation but may also be inefficient in a Pareto sense. The author’s results are consistent with real world observations, and thus provide a new explanation for weak environmental policy performance.
    Keywords: Environmental policy, environmental protection, hyperbolic discounting, Markov perfect equilibria, tme-inconsistency
    JEL: D90 Q50 Q58
    Date: 2009
  23. By: Atkinson, Giles D.; Dietz, Simon; Helgeson, Jennifer; Hepburn, Cameron; Sælen, Håkon
    Abstract: Arguments about the appropriate discount rate often start by assuming a Utilitarian social welfare function with isoelastic utility, in which the consumption discount rate is a function of the (constant) elasticity of marginal utility along with the (much discussed) utility discount rate. In this model, the elasticity of marginal utility simultaneously reflects preferences for intertemporal substitution, aversion to risk, and aversion to (spatial) inequality. While these three concepts are necessarily identical in the standard model, this need not be so: well-known models already enable risk to be separated from intertemporal substitution. Separating the three concepts might have important implications for the appropriate discount rate, and hence also for long-term policy. This paper investigates these issues in the context of climate-change economics, by surveying the attitudes of over 3000 people to risk, income inequality over space and income inequality over time. The results suggest that individuals do not see the three concepts as identical, and indeed that preferences over risk, inequality and time are only weakly correlated. As such, relying on empirical evidence of risk or inequality preferences may not necessarily be an appropriate guide to specifying the elasticity of intertemporal substitution.
    Keywords: Climate change, discounting, risk aversion, intertemporal substitution, inequality aversion, intergenerational equity
    JEL: C90 D01 D63 Q51
    Date: 2009

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