Essays on energy efficiency, environmental regulation and labor demand in Swedish industry

Sammanfattning: Paper [I] Energy efficiency improvement (EEI) benefits the climate and matters for energy security. The potential emission and energy savings due to EEI may however not fully materialize due to the rebound effect. In this study, we measure the size of the rebound effect for fuel and electricity within the four most energy intensive sectors in Sweden: Pulp and paper, Basic iron and steel, Chemical, and Mining. We use a detailed firm-level panel data set for 2000–2008 and apply a stochastic frontier analysis (SFA) for measuring the rebound effect. We find that neither fuel nor electricity rebound effects fully offset the potential energy and emission savings. Among the determinants, we find the CO2 intensity and the fuel/electricity shares to be useful indicators for identifying firms with higher or lower rebound effects within each sector.Paper [II] Energy efficiency improvement (EEI) is generally known to be a cost-effective measure for meeting energy, climate and sustainable growth targets. Unfortunately, behavioral responses to such improvements (called energy rebound effects) may reduce the expected savings in emissions and energy from EEI. Hence, the size of this effect should be considered to help set realistic energy and climate targets. Currently there are significant differences in approaches for measuring rebound effect. Here, we used a two-step procedure to measure both short- and long-term energy rebound effects in the Swedish manufacturing industry. In the first step, we used data envelopment analysis (DEA) to obtain energy efficiency scores. In the second step, we estimated energy rebound effects using a dynamic panel regression model. This approach was applied to a firm-level panel dataset covering all 14 sectors in the Swedish manufacturing industry over the period 1997–2008. We showed that, in the short run, partial rebound effects exist within most of manufacturing sectors, meaning that the rebound effect decreased, but did not totally offset, the energy and emission savings expected from EEI. The long-term rebound effect was smaller than the short-term effect, implying that within each sector, energy and emission savings due to EEI are larger in the long run compared to the short run.Paper [III] Energy inefficiency in production implies that the same level of goods and services could be produced using less energy. The potential energy inefficiency of a firm may be linked to long-term structural rigidities in the production process and/or systematic shortcomings in management (persistent inefficiency), or associated with temporary issues like misallocation of resources (transient inefficiency). Eliminating or mitigating different inefficiencies may require different policy measures. Studies measuring industrial energy inefficiency have mostly focused on overall inefficiencies and have paid little attention to distinctions between the types. The aim of this study was to assess whether energy inefficiency is transient and/or persistent in the Swedish manufacturing industry. I used a firm-level panel dataset covering fourteen industrial sectors from 1997–2008 and estimated a stochastic energy demand frontier model. The model included a four-component error term separating persistent and transient inefficiency from unobserved heterogeneity and random noise. I found that both transient and persistent energy inefficiencies exist in most sectors of the Swedish manufacturing industry. Overall, persistent energy inefficiency was larger than transient, but varied considerably in different manufacturing sectors. The results suggest that, generally, energy inefficiencies in the Swedish manufacturing industry were related to structural rigidities connected to technology and/or management practices.Paper [IV] The aim of this paper was to investigate whether the environment and employment compete with each other in Swedish manufacturing industry. The effect of a marginal increase in environmental expenditure and environmental investment costs on sector-level demand for labor (employment) was studied using a detailed firm-level panel dataset for the period 2001–2008. The results showed that the sign and magnitude of the net employment effects ultimately depend on the aggregate sector-level output demand elasticity. If the output demand is inelastic, these costs induce small net improvements in employment, while a more elastic output demand suggests negative, but in most sectors relatively small, net effects on demand for labor. Hence, the results did not generally indicate a substantial trade-off between jobs and the environment. The general policy recommendation that can be drawn from this study is that, in the absence of empirically estimated output demand elasticities, a careful attitude regarding national environmental initiatives for sectors exposed to world market competition should be adopted.