Measuring persistent and transient energy efficiency in the US

Massimo Filippini, Lester C. Hunt*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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    The promotion of US energy efficiency policy is seen as a very important activity. Generally, the level of energy efficiency of a country or state is approximated by energy intensity, commonly calculated as the ratio of energy use to GDP. However, energy intensity is not an accurate proxy for energy efficiency given that changes in energy intensity are a function of changes in several factors including the structure of the economy, climate, efficiency in the use of resources, behaviour and technical change. The aim of this paper is to measure persistent and transient energy efficiency for the whole economy of 49 states in the US using a stochastic frontier energy demand approach. A total US energy demand frontier function is estimated using panel data for 49 states over the period 1995 to 2009 using two panel data models: the Mundlak version of the random effects model (which estimates the persistent part of the energy efficiency) and the true random effects model (which estimates the transient part of the energy efficiency). The analysis confirms that energy intensity is not a good indicator of energy efficiency, whereas, by controlling for a range of economic and other factors, the measures of energy efficiency obtained via the approach adopted here are. Moreover, the estimates show that although for some states energy intensity might give a reasonable indication of a state’s relative energy efficiency, this is not the case for all states.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)663-675
    Number of pages13
    JournalEnergy Efficiency
    Issue number3
    Early online date7 Sept 2015
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


    • efficiency and frontier analysis
    • persistent and transient energy efficiency
    • US total energy demand


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