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Diskussionspapiere - Hannover Economic Papers (HEP)

Energy Distribution, Power Laws, and Economic Growth

Autor: Carl-Johan Dalgaard and Holger Strulik
Nummer: 385, Jan 2008, pp. 13
JEL-Class: /N

The natural sciences have established a general scaling law that relates metabolism and body size of animals. Recently this association - known as Kleiber's law - has received deep theoretical foundation by network theory and has been fruitfully applied to explain various biological phenomena, in particular ontogenetic growth. Here we derive a similar power law for economic metabolism (energy consumption per capita) and economic size (capital per capita). Invoking the power law we provide a metabolic-energetic founded law of motion for capital per capita. Using data for the U.S. states we test the resulting structural model and find evidence in favor of a scaling parameter, between energy and capital per capita, of about 2/3.


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