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Abstract: The complex relation between energy use and the economic process has long attracted attention. Issues such as the scarcity of energy resources, energy theory of value, degrowth and a-growth approaches are closely related to the relationship between energy and development. The present study traces the implications of the Energy-GDP causality dialogue for the context of the growth-degrowth debate, where the energy-development link plays a decisive role. In that context, the present research investigates the possible existence of a fundamental “macro” direction of causality between energy use and economic growth that is not influenced by study-specific characteristics and events. Towards this objective, we perform a meta-analysis that takes into account 158 studies on causality between energy and GDP, covering the period 1978–2011. This is the first time, to our knowledge, that meta-analysis has been applied to investigate the direction of the energy and GDP causal relationship. The meta-analysis results neither support the existence of a fundamental “macro” direction, nor the so-called “neutrality hypothesis (E ≠ GDP)” in the causal relationship between energy consumption and economic growth.

Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 67, 15 March 2014, Pages 1–13