Energy Use and Economic Development

Energy use and economic development: A comparative analysis of useful work supply in Austria, Japan, the United Kingdom and the US during 100 years of economic growth.

Authors: Benjamin Warr, Robert Ayres, Nina Eisenmenger, Fridolin Krausmann, Heinz Schandl

Forthcoming in Ecological Economics

On this site you will find a comprehensive description of the methodology used to estimate exergy and useful work  time series using historical energy statistics. You will also find the complete database  which you may download.  Use of the data is restricted to academic purposes. The original publication should be cited in all uses of the data.


This paper presents a societal level exergy analysis approach developed to analyse transitions in the way that energy is supplied and contributes to economic growth in the UK, the US, Austria and Japan, throughout the last century. We assess changes in exergy and useful work consumption, energy efficiency and related GDP intensity measures of each economy. The novel data provided elucidate certain characteristics of divergence and commonality in the energy transitions studied. The results indicate that in each country the processes of industrialisation, urbanisation and electrification are characterised by a marked increase in exergy and useful work supplies and per capita intensities. There is a common and continuous decrease in the exergy intensity of GDP. Moreover for each country studied the trend of increasing useful work intensity of GDP reversed in the early 1970s coincident with the first oil crisis.

Keywords: Energy; exergy; economic growth; energy transition; energy consumption; useful work.

A detailed description of the principles underlying the original methodology

The original paper "Exergy, Power, Work  in the US Economy , 1900-1998" provides additional detail on the methodology and can be downloaded from the link below. It is important to note that revisions to the database, specifically consideration of the efficiency of electricity use mean that the data used are not the same. However, the changes made have in no way altered the general conclusions drawn in either publication.  

Empirical evidence on the causality relationships between exergy, useful work and GDP

The following paper has been accepted for publication in Energy, The International Journal. It describes a series of tests for causality between exergy and GDP and useful work and GDP for the US. To summarise, we find evidence of unidirectional (long-run) Granger causality from exergy and useful work to GDP. A draft pre-publication copy of this paper can be downloaded.

Data Sources 

US Data Sources.xls US Data Sources.xls
Size : 0.049 Kb
Type : xls
UK Data Sources.xls UK Data Sources.xls
Size : 0.041 Kb
Type : xls
AUT Data Sources.xls AUT Data Sources.xls
Size : 0.054 Kb
Type : xls
JP Data Sources.xls JP Data Sources.xls
Size : 0.046 Kb
Type : xls

Data Files 

US Data Tables 12.08.2009.xls US Data Tables 12.08.2009.xls
Size : 0.651 Kb
Type : xls
UK Data Tables 12.08.2009.xls UK Data Tables 12.08.2009.xls
Size : 0.583 Kb
Type : xls
AUT Data Tables 12.08.2009.xls AUT Data Tables 12.08.2009.xls
Size : 0.604 Kb
Type : xls
JP Data Tables 12.08.2009.xls JP Data Tables 12.08.2009.xls
Size : 0.623 Kb
Type : xls
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