Re-estimating the decoupling effect: Is there an actual transition towards a less energy-intensive economy?

The historical issue of the natural resources scarcity is revived currently through the empirical investigation into the dependence of the modern economy on the inputs of material and energy. The contemporary debate on de-growth and a-growth feeds on the empirical assessments of the relationship between energy-material use and current growth trends. In this context, the present study attempts a re-estimation of the energy-economic growth decoupling effect taking into account the physiology and, hence, the dimensionality that economic goods have. The Energy/GDP per Capita ratio is proposed as an indicator that approximates better than the Energy/GDP ratio the real world properties of production and, therefore, its energy requirements. The resulting estimations of decoupling effect are less 'optimistic' than those based on Energy/GDP ratio and prevalent in the relevant contemporary literature.

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