Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2018 Nov 12;13(11):e0205671.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0205671. eCollection 2018.

Re-assessing Causality Between Energy Consumption and Economic Growth

Free PMC article

Re-assessing Causality Between Energy Consumption and Economic Growth

Atanu Ghoshray et al. PLoS One. .
Free PMC article


The energy consumption-growth nexus has been widely studied in the empirical literature, though results have been inconclusive regarding the direction, or even the existence, of causality. These inconsistent results can be explained by two important limitations of the literature. First, the use of bivariate models, which fail to detect more complex causal relations, or the ad hoc approach to selecting variables in a multivariate framework; and, second, the use of linear causal models, which are unable to capture more complex nonlinear causal relationships. In this paper, we aim to overcome both limitations by analysing the energy consumption-growth nexus using a Flexible Fourier form due to Enders and Jones (2016). The analysis focuses on the US over the period 1949 to 2014. From our results we can conclude that, where the linear methodology supports the neutrality hypothesis (no causality between energy consumption and growth), the Flexible Fourier form points to the existence of causality from energy consumption to growth. This is contrary to the linear analysis, suggesting that lowering energy consumption would adversely affect US economic growth. Thus, by employing the Flexible Fourier form we find the conclusions can be quite different.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Fig 1
Fig 1. Time-trend of variables analysed.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 1 article


    1. Wagner L., Ross I., Foster J., & Hankamer B. (2016) Trading Off Global Fuel Supply, CO2 Emissions and Sustainable Development. Plos One, 11 (3). 10.1371/journal.pone.0149406 - DOI - PMC - PubMed
    1. Coers R, Sanders M. The energy–GDP nexus; addressing an old question with new methods. Energy Economics. 2013;36:708–715. 10.1016/j.eneco.2012.11.015 - DOI
    1. Ozturk I. A literature survey on energy–growth nexus. Energy Policy. 2010;38(1):340–349. 10.1016/j.enpol.2009.09.024 - DOI
    1. Payne J. Survey of the international evidence on the causal relationship between energy consumption and growth. Journal of Economic Studies. 2010;37(1):53–95. 10.1108/01443581011012261 - DOI
    1. Yang Y, Liu J, Zhang Y. An analysis of the implications of China’s urbanization policy for economic growth and energy consumption. Journal of Cleaner Production. 2017;161:1251–1262. 10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.03.207 - DOI

Publication types

Grant support

JO acknowledges financial support from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation through grant ECO2014-58991-C3-2-R and AEI/FEDER ECO2017-83255-C3-3-P. JO acknowledges financial support from PROMETEO project PROMETEO II/2014/053. AG and JO thank the Generalitat Valenciana project AICO/2016/038. JO and MM are grateful for support from the University Jaume I research project P1.1B2014-7 and UJI-B2017-33. YM is grateful for support from the University Isabel I research project. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.