Energy, knowledge and economic growth

Foster, John (2014) Energy, knowledge and economic growth. Journal of Evolutionary Economics, 24 2: 209-238. doi:10.1007/s00191-014-0348-6

Author Foster, John
Title Energy, knowledge and economic growth
Journal name Journal of Evolutionary Economics   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0936-9937
Publication date 2014-04-01
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s00191-014-0348-6
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 24
Issue 2
Start page 209
End page 238
Total pages 30
Place of publication Heidelberg, Germany
Publisher Springer
Language eng
Abstract It is argued that the explosive growth experienced in much of the World since the middle of the 19th Century is due to the exploitation and use of fossil fuels which, in turn, was made possible by capital good innovations that enabled this source of energy to be used effectively. Economic growth is viewed as the outcome autocatalytic co-evolution of energy use and the application of new knowledge associated with energy use. It is argued that models of economic growth should be built from innovation diffusion processes, unfolding in history, rather than from a timeless aggregate production function. A simple 'evolutionary macroeconomic' model of economic growth is developed and tested using almost two centuries of British data. The empirical findings strongly support the hypothesis that growth has been due to the presence of a 'super-radical innovation diffusion process' following the industrial deployment of fossil fuels on a large scale in the 19th Century. Also, the evidence suggests that large and sustained movements in energy prices have had a very significant long term role to play.
Keyword Macroeconomics
Economic growth
Economic development
Economic evolution
Innovation diffusion
Fossil fuels
Capital stock
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Economics Publications
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