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RWP 21-18, December 2021

As the atmospheric concentration of CO2 emissions has grown to record levels, calls have grown for governments to make steeper emissions cuts and reduce their use of fossil fuels dramatically. Meanwhile, fossil fuels still met 80 percent of the United States’ total energy demand as of 2019. This paper examines U.S. energy dependence, measured by its factor share, using a simple neoclassical framework in a systematic way. We find that with empirically plausible differences in substitution elasticities, particularly with a time-varying substitution elasticity between equipment capital and energy, changes in observed factor inputs can account for the variation in the income share of energy. Our analysis suggests that energy-saving technical change may simply be serving as a proxy for capital-energy substitutability. We also use our framework to show that substitution possibilities among different factor inputs can allow for a decline in the factor share of energy in the long run.

JEL classifications: E13, E25, J23, J3, J68, Q41, Q42, Q48

Article Citation

  • Çakır Melek, Nida, and Musa Orak. 2021. “The Income Share of Energy and Substitution: A Macroeconomic Approach.” Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Research Working Paper no. 21-18, December. Available at External Link


Nida Çakır Melek

Senior Economist

Nida Çakır Melek is a senior economist in the Economic Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. She joined the Bank in August 2013 after receiving her Ph.D…