The Economic Growth Engine

The Economic Growth Engine

How Energy and Work Drive Material Prosperity

Robert U. Ayres and Benjamin Warr

The historic link between output (GDP) growth and employment has weakened. Since there is no quantitively verifiable economic theory to explain past growth, this unique book explores the fundamental relationship between thermodynamics (physical work) and economics.

Chapter 7: Numerical Results for the US and Japan

Robert U. Ayres and Benjamin Warr

Subjects: economics and finance, energy economics, environment, ecological economics


INTRODUCTION There are two types of time series data used in this chapter. Details of the data and sources are given in Appendix B. One type consists of standard economic data, originally compiled and published by governments or international agencies (such as the OECD). These data are based on a variety of sources that need not concern us particularly, since the published results are accepted and utilized by most economic modelers. This applies to labor supply (man-hours) and – in the US case – capital stock. Since our first test case is the US, we have used publications of the US government – notably the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Bureau of Economic Analysis – since 1970. These data are available on the internet. For earlier periods, we use a compilation by the US Department of the Census (United States Bureau of the Census 1975). In the case of Japan (and most other countries we are aware of), long time series for capital stock data are not published by governments, as such. The most convenient source for long-term comparative analysis is Maddison (1995a, chapter 5). For purposes of extending the economic analysis beyond the US, consistency of definition is important. The most convenient international economic database is now maintained by the Groningen Growth and Development Centre, in the Netherlands (Groningen Growth and Development Centre 2006). Exergy and useful work time series are derived for the US from ‘energy’ data published by the Energy Information Agency, which is part of the Department of...

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