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The Economics of Energy Efficiency, a Historical Perspective

Abstract : Energy efficiency can be considered as a central pillar of global warming mitigation, with important co-benefits, including productivity gains, resource conservation or national security. It is also a subject of controversy between engineers and economists, who have divergent conceptions of the notion of optimality that delineates energy efficiency potentials. Modern surveys hardly go back beyond the 1970s and do not fully explore the reasons and conditions for the persistent differences between economists’ and engineers’ views. This paper provides such a historical account, investigating the positioning of economic analysis in contrast to the technical expertise on key energy efficiency topics – the rebound effect, the energy efficiency gap, and green nudges, from the 19th century to the present day. It highlights the permanence and evolution in the relationship that economists have had with technical expertise. An extension of the current conceptual framework is finally provided to connect our historical findings with avenues for future research.
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Contributor : Antoine Missemer <>
Submitted on : Monday, September 30, 2019 - 3:53:03 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, June 15, 2021 - 2:57:08 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Monday, February 10, 2020 - 5:05:44 AM


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  • HAL Id : halshs-02301636, version 1


Louis-Gaëtan Giraudet, Antoine Missemer. The Economics of Energy Efficiency, a Historical Perspective. 2019. ⟨halshs-02301636⟩



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