Keen Steve, Ayres Robert U, Standish Russell

Economie et politique de l’énergie
March 2019
Titre Ouvrage:
A Note on the Role of Energy in Production
Ecological Economics, vol. 157, March
pp. 40-46

Energy plays no role in the standard Cobb-Douglas Production Function (CDPF), and a trivial role in a three-factor CDPF where it is treated as a third input, independent of labour and capital. Starting from an epistemological perspective, we treat energy as an input to both labour and capital, without which production is impossible. We then derive an energy-based CPDF (EBCDPF) in which energy plays a critical role. We argue for the redefinition and measurement of real GDP in terms of exergy. We conclude that the “Solow Residual” measures the contribution of exergy to growth, and that the exponents in the EBCDPF should be based on cross-country comparative data as suggested by Mankiw (1995) rather than the “cost-share theorem”.