David Ian Stern

David Ian Stern
Australian National University | ANU · Crawford School of Public Policy

BA, MSc, PhD

About

180
Publications
139,444
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
16,027
Citations
Introduction
I am an energy and environmental economist interested in the relationship between energy and economic growth and development and the environmental impacts of growth, in particular, climate change.
Additional affiliations
March 2009 - present
Australian National University
July 2002 - June 2007
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
October 1996 - July 2002
Australian National University
Education
August 1990 - April 1994
Boston University
Field of study
  • Geography
October 1988 - September 1989
October 1985 - July 1988
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Field of study
  • Geography & Economics

Publications

Publications (180)
Preprint
Full-text available
We compute confidence intervals for recursive impact factors, that take into account that some citations are more prestigious than others, as well as for the associated ranks of journals, applying the methods to the population of economics journals. The Quarterly Journal of Economics is clearly the journal with greatest impact, the confidence inter...
Article
Increasing energy efficiency is often considered to be one of the main ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, efficiency gains that reduce the cost of energy services result in energy use rebounding and potential energy use savings being eaten up. Empirical research that quantifies the economy-wide rebound effect while taking the dynam...
Article
Recent research suggests that the economy-wide rebound effect is near 100% in several high-income countries. Is it similarly large in middle-income countries? Iran is a middle-income country that is also a large oil producer. We estimate the economy-wide rebound effect for Iran using a structural vector autoregressive model and quarterly data from...
Article
Full-text available
This article presents a critical assessment of 40 years of research that may be brought under the umbrella of energy efficiency, spanning different aggregations and domains—from individual producing and consuming agents to economy-wide effects to the role of innovation to the influence of policy. After 40 years of research, energy efficiency initia...
Article
Full-text available
This article presents the first‐ever ranking of public policy schools in the Asia‐Pacific region based on their research publication output. We used Scopus as our bibliographic database to assess the publication output of 45 schools between 2014 and 2018, based on affiliations listed on the publications rather than current faculty. The results show...
Article
Full-text available
The Euclidean length of a citation list is “depth relevant”: the metric increases when citations are transferred from less to more cited papers. We introduce “breadth relevance,” which favors consistent achievers over one‐hit wonders. The exponent of the CES aggregator then is less than unity rather than greater than unity, as for depth relevance....
Article
The size of the economy-wide rebound effect is crucial for estimating the contribution that energy efficiency improvements can make to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and for understanding the drivers of energy use. Existing estimates, which vary widely, are based on computable general equilibrium models or partial equilibrium econometric estimat...
Article
The size of the economy-wide rebound effect is crucial for estimating the contribution that energy efficiency improvements can make to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and for understanding the drivers of energy use. Economy-wide rebound from an energy efficiency improvement includes changes in the use of energy to produce complementary and substi...
Article
Integrating intermittent renewable generation with near zero private marginal costs for generating electricity will change market outcomes, but this article emphasizes that this integration does not change the fundamental economic principles behind market design. Market designs still need to adequately price scarcity and all network constraints and...
Article
We investigate the factors that affect airlines' choice of fleet fuel economy using aircraft-level data for 1267 airlines in 174 countries. Larger and newer aircraft are usually more fuel-efficient. Controlling for the effect of aircraft size and age, we find that the technically achievable fleet fuel economy improves with the size of airlines and...
Article
Full-text available
Many countries committed to climate action by adopting the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. This study synthesizes 40 years of scientific evidence of what may be an important benefit of these commitments: the non-use value of biodiversity conservation. The synthesis investigates whether biodiversity values can be integrate...
Article
We model the role of the ocean in climate change, using the concept of multicointegration. Surface temperature and radiative forcing cointegrate and the accumulated cointegration disequilibria represent the change in Earth system heat content, which is predominantly stored in the ocean. System heat content in turn cointegrates with surface temperat...
Article
Full-text available
The academic system incentivizes p-hacking, where researchers select estimates and statistics with statistically significant p-values for publication. We analyze the complete process of Granger causality testing including p-hacking using Monte Carlo simulations. If the degrees of freedom of the underlying vector autoregressive model are small to mo...
Article
This paper provides a review of the macro-level evidence on the importance of electricity for economic development. We find that electricity access and use are strongly correlated with economic development, as theory suggests. Despite a large empirical literature, however, there are few methodologically strong studies that establish causal effects...
Preprint
Full-text available
World and U.S. energy intensities have declined over the past century, falling at an average rate of approximately 1.2-1.5 percent a year. The decline has persisted through periods of stagnating or even falling energy prices, suggesting the decline is driven in large part by autonomous factors, independent of price changes. In this paper, we use di...
Article
We replicate Stern (1993), who argues and empirically demonstrates that it is necessary (i) to use quality-adjusted energy use and (ii) to include capital and labor as control variables in order to find Granger causality from energy use to GDP. Though we could not access the original dataset, we can verify the main original inferences using data th...
Article
We study the drivers of the adoption of electricity generation technologies between 1970 and 2014 in the lower 48 U.S. states. Since the 1990s, major electricity market restructuring took place in some parts of the United States. We explore the implications of changing from a regulated “cost-of-service”, or rate of return, system to liberalized who...
Article
In this Letter to the Editor I comment on a recent Letter from Lutz Bornmann. I argue that the Poisson distribution is not an appropriate simplifying assumption to make when computing confidence intervals for journal impact factors.
Article
Full-text available
Recent projections of energy intensity predict a more rapid decline in intensity than has occurred in the recent past. To assess how well such projections have performed in the past, I assess the accuracy of the business as usual energy intensity projections embedded in the annual World Energy Outlook (WEO) produced by the International Energy Agen...
Article
Households may imperfectly implement energy saving measures. This study identifies two factors resulting in imperfect use of energy-saving technology by households. Households often continue to use old technologies alongside new ones, and the energy-saving technologies have shorter actual lifetimes than their designed lifetimes. These two factors a...
Article
Full-text available
PM2.5 is a pollutant that is very hazardous to human health and potentially an important source of radiative forcing. We estimate the effect of economic growth on changes in PM2.5 pollution in a global panel of 151 countries between 1990 and 2010. We find that economic growth has positive though relatively small effects on pollution concentrations...
Article
Full-text available
The environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) has been the dominant approach among economists to modeling aggregate pollution emissions and ambient concentrations over the last quarter century. Despite this, the EKC was criticized almost from the start and decomposition approaches have been more popular in other disciplines working on global climate change...
Chapter
Energy use and economic output are positively correlated though energy intensity has declined over time and is usually lower in richer countries. Numerous factors affect the energy intensity of economies and energy efficiency is obviously one of the most important. However, the rebound effect might limit the possibilities for energy efficiency impr...
Article
We explore how and by how much the values of elasticities of substitution affect estimates of the cost of emissions reduction policies in computable general equilibrium (CGE) models. We use G-Cubed, an intertemporal CGE model, to carry out a sensitivity and factor decomposition analysis. The decomposition analysis determines the contributions of ch...
Article
Full-text available
We summarize what we know about energy and economic growth in a set of stylized facts. We combine analysis of a panel data set of 99 countries from 1971 to 2010 with analysis of some longer run historical data. Our key result is that over the last 40 years there has been a stable cross-sectional relationship between per capita energy use and income...
Article
Though there has been extensive analysis of the drivers of aggregate carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion and cement production, there has been much less analysis of the drivers of greenhouse gases in general and especially of aggregate emissions of greenhouse gases from agriculture, forestry, and other land uses, which we call non-...
Article
Though the environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) was originally developed to model the ambient concentrations of pollutants, most subsequent applications have focused on pollution emissions. Yet, it seems more likely that economic growth could eventually reduce the concentrations of local pollutants than emissions. We examine the role of income, conver...
Article
Meta-analyses of interfuel and capital-energy elasticities of substitution show that elasticity estimates are dependent on the type of data − time series, panel, or cross-section − and the estimators used. Econometric theory suggests that the between estimator might generate the best estimates of long-run elasticities but no existing estimates of e...
Article
PM2.5 is a pollutant that is very hazardous to human health and potentially an important source of radiative forcing.We estimate the effect of economic growth on changes in PM2.5 pollution in a global panel of 151 countries between 1990 and 2010. We find that economic growth has positive though relatively small effects on pollution concentrations w...
Chapter
The environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) is a hypothesized relationship between various indicators of environmental degradation and income per capita. As economies get richer environmental impacts first rise but eventually fall. In reality, though some types of environmental degradation have been reduced in developed countries others have not. Further...
Article
We examine the key factors driving change in energy use globally over the past four decades. We test for both strong decoupling where economic growth has less effect on energy use as income increases, and weak decoupling where energy use declines overtime in richer countries, ceteris paribus. Our econometric approach is robust to the presence of un...
Article
This paper investigates the short-run effects of economic growth on carbon dioxide emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels and the manufacture of cement for 189 countries over the period 1961–2010. Contrary to what has previously been reported, we conclude that there is no strong evidence that the emissions-income elasticity is larger during...
Article
We apply a conditional directional distance function allowing multiple exogenous factors to measure environmental performance. We evaluate the air pollution performance levels of U.S. states for the years 1998 and 2008. States' environmental inefficiency is determined by population size and GDP per capita (GDPPC). The overall results reveal that th...
Article
Full-text available
We show that university rankings in economics based on long-run citation counts can be easily predicted using early citations. The rank correlation between universities' cumulative citations received over ten years for economics articles published in 2003 and 2004 and citations received in 2003 to 2004 alone is 0.91 in the UK and 0.82 in Australia....
Chapter
Energy use and GDP are positively correlated, although energy intensity has declined over time and is usually lower in richer countries. Numerous factors affect the energy intensity of economies, and energy efficiency is obviously one of the most important. However, the rebound effect might limit the possibilities for energy efficiency improvements...
Article
There has been extensive analysis of the drivers of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion and cement production, which constituted only 55% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 1970 and 65% in 2010. But there has been much less analysis of the drivers of greenhouse gases in general and especially of emissions of greenhouse gas...
Article
Full-text available
We explore how and by how much the values of elasticities of substitution affect estimates of the cost of emissions reduction policies in computable general equilibrium (CGE) models. We use G-Cubed, an intertemporal CGE model, to carry out a sensitivity and factor decomposition analysis. Average abatement cost rises non-linearly as elasticities are...
Article
Full-text available
We review the literature on the economics of climate change with a focus on the evolution of the literature from some of the early classic papers to the latest contributions. We divide the paper into three main sections: trends in greenhouse gas emissions, mitigation, and adaptation.
Article
Full-text available
Do citations accumulate too slowly in the social sciences to be used to assess the quality of recent articles? I investigate whether this is the case using citation data for all articles in economics and political science published in 2006 and indexed in the Web of Science. I find that citations in the first two years after publication explain more...
Article
Full-text available
We test for causality between radiative forcing and temperature using multivariate time series models and Granger causality tests that are robust to the non-stationary (trending) nature of global climate data. We find that both natural and anthropogenic forcings cause temperature change and also that temperature causes greenhouse gas concentration...
Article
We examine the role of substitution from traditional to modern energy carriers and of differential rates of innovation in the use of each of these in economic growth in Sweden from 1850 to 1950. We use a simple growth model with a nested CES production function and exogenous factor-augmenting technological change and carry out a counterfactual simu...
Article
We report on and analyze the results of an energy use survey in two tribal villages in rural Maharashtra, India. Though there is significant heterogeneity between the effects of the variables in the two villages there are some robust results. We find modest evidence for the ‘energy ladder’ hypothesis and that use of higher quality energy sources re...
Article
The authors adopt a new approach to modeling the relationship between emissions and income using long-run per capita growth rates. This approach allows them to test multiple hypotheses about the drivers of per capita emissions in a single framework and avoid several of the econometric issues that have plagued the environmental Kuznets curve literat...
Article
We examine the key factors driving change in energy use globally over the past four decades. Our econometric approach is robust to the presence of unit roots, unobserved time effects, and spatial effects. We test for both strong decoupling where economic growth has less effect on energy use as income increases, and weak decoupling where energy use...
Article
We explore how and by how much the values of elasticities of substitution affect estimates of the cost of emissions reduction policies in computable general equilibrium (CGE) models. We use G-Cubed, an intertemporal CGE model, to carry out a sensitivity and factor decomposition analysis. The decomposition analysis determines the contributions of ch...
Article
Though there is a very large literature examining whether energy use Granger causes economic output or vice versa, it is fairly inconclusive. Almost all existing studies use relatively short time series, or panels with a relatively small time dimension. We apply Granger causality and cointegration techniques to a Swedish time series dataset spannin...
Article
We carry out a meta-analysis of the very large literature on Granger causality tests between energy use and economic output to determine if there is a genuine effect in this literature or whether the large number of apparently significant results is due to publication and misspecification bias. Our model extends the standard meta-regression model f...
Article
Academic economists appear to be intensely interested in rankings of journals, institutions, and individuals. Yet there is little discussion of the uncertainty associated with these rankings. To illustrate the uncertainty associated with citations-based rankings, I compute the standard error of the impact factor for all economics journals with a fi...
Chapter
Ecological economics is a relatively new interdisciplinary field concerned with the relationship between economic systems and the biological and physical world. This article covers the following topics: a discussion of views on whether ecological economics is just a field or approach within economics or a new “transdisciplinary” field in its own ri...
Article
We carry out a meta-analysis of the very large literature on testing for Granger causality between energy use and economic output to determine if there is a genuine effect in this literature or whether the large number of apparently significant results is due to publication or misspecification bias. Our model extends the standard meta-regression mo...
Article
Academic economists appear to be intensely interested in rankings of journals, institutions, and individuals. Yet there is little discussion of the uncertainty associated with these rankings. To illustrate the uncertainty associated with citations-based rankings, I compute the standard error of the impact factor for all economics journals with a fi...
Article
I use a stochastic production frontier to model energy efficiency trends in 85 countries over a 37-year period. Differences in energy efficiency across countries are modeled as a stochastic function of explanatory variables and I estimate the model using the cross-section of time-averaged data, so that no structure is imposed on technological chang...
Article
Full-text available
Countries with low marginal costs of abating carbon emissions may have high total costs, and vice versa, for a given climate mitigation policy. This may help to explain different countries' policy stances on climate mitigation. We hypothesize that, under a common percentage cut in emissions intensity relative to business as usual (BAU), countries w...
Article
Full-text available
Ecological economics is a relatively new interdisciplinary field concerned with the relationship between economic systems and the biological and physical world. This article covers the following topics: A discussion of views on whether ecological economics is just a field or approach within economics or a new “transdisciplinary” field in its own ri...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract This paper provides the first meta-analysis of the interfuel substitutability literature. The sample includes 47 studies of interfuel substitution in the industrial sector, in manufacturing industry or manufacturing sub-industries, or in the macro-economy of a variety of developed and developing countries. Meta-regressions are estimated fo...
Article
The paper focuses on establishing causation in regression analysis in observational settings. Simple static regression analysis cannot establish causality in the absence of a priori theory on possible causal mechanisms or controlled and randomized experiments. However, two regression based econometric techniques – instrumental variables and Granger...
Article
Full-text available
There has been considerable debate on the existence of trends in climate in the highlands of East Africa and hypotheses about their potential effect on the trends in malaria in the region. We apply a new robust trend test to mean temperature time series data from three editions of the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit database (CRU...
Article
This paper has two aims: clarification of several aspects of the debate on the appropriateness of various indicators of natural resource scarcity and the empirical analysis of the trends in the scarcity of forest products in the U.S. Two distinct types of indicators are developed in the natural resource scarcity literature, which we term exchange s...
Article
This paper reviews the mainstream, resource economics, and ecological economics models of growth. A possible synthesis of energy-based and mainstream models is presented. This shows that when energy is scarce it imposes a strong constraint on the growth of the economy; however, when energy is abundant, its effect on economic growth is much reduced....
Article
Several developing economies have announced carbon emissions targets for 2020 as part of the negotiating process for a post-Kyoto climate policy regime. China and India's commitments are framed as reductions in the emissions intensity of the economy by 40-45% and 20-25%, respectively, between 2005 and 2020. How feasible are the proposed reductions...
Article
The expansion in the supply of energy services over the last couple of centuries has reduced the apparent importance of energy in economic growth despite energy being an essential production input. We demonstrate this by developing a simple extension of the Solow growth model, which we use to investigate 200 years of Swedish data. We find that the...
Article
I derive a new symmetric elasticity of complementarity from the input distance function by imposing a constant distance condition. Assuming technical efficiency and a single output, the Hicks elasticity of substitution is its reciprocal.
Article
Recent papers by Wagner and Vollebergh et al. point out some fundamental econometric problems with traditional methods of estimating the environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) and propose alternative approaches that avoid these issues. Wagner notes that traditional methods do not take into account the presence of powers of unit root variables and cross-...
Article
This paper develops economic definitions of energy quality for individual fuels and energy aggregates. There are use- and exchange-value concepts, as well as marginal and total measures, of energy quality. A factor augmentation or quality coefficients approach corresponds to the use-value definition while indicators based on distance functions and...
Article
This study uses a stochastic production frontier to model trends in energy efficiency over time in a panel of 85 countries. No a priori structure is imposed on technological change over time though differences in the level of technology across countries are modeled as a stochastic function of explanatory variables. These variables are selected on t...
Article
The relative cost of carbon emissions reductions across regions depends on whether we measure cost by marginal or total cost, private or economy-wide cost, and using market or purchasing power parity exchange rates. If all countries are on the same marginal carbon abatement cost curve then lower marginal costs of abatement are associated with highe...