Replication and robustness analysis of 'energy and economic growth in the USA: a multivariate approach'

Author name: 
Bruns SB
Konig J
Stern DI

We replicate Stern (1993, Energy Economics), who argues and empirically demonstrates that it is necessary (i) to use quality-adjusted energy use and (ii) to include capital and labor as control variables in order to find Granger causality from energy use to GDP. Though we could not access the original dataset, we can verify the main original inferences using data that are as close as possible to the original. We analyze the robustness of the original findings to alternative definitions of variables, model specifications, and estimation approach for both the (almost) original time span (1949- 1990) and an extended time span (1949-2015). p-values tend to be substantially smaller if energy use is quality adjusted rather than measured by total joules and if capital is included. Including labor has mixed results. These findings tend to largely support Stern’s (1993) two main conclusions and emphasize the importance of accounting for changes in the energy mix in time series modeling of the energy-GDP relationship and controlling for other factors of production. We also discuss how the inclusion of the original author in designing the replication study using a pre-analysis plan can help to counterbalance the incentive of replicating authors to disconfirm major findings of the original article to increase the probability of getting published.

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