Too Much Energy: The Perverse Effect of Low Fuel Prices on Firms

50 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2019

See all articles by Massimiliano Cali

Massimiliano Cali

Independent

Nicola Cantore

Overseas Development Institute (ODI)

Leo Iacovone

World Bank; University of Sussex

Mariana De La Paz Pereira Lopez

World Bank

Giorgio Presidente

World Bank

Date Written: October 10, 2019

Abstract

This paper provides novel evidence on the impact of changes in energy prices on manufacturing performance in two large developing economies -- Indonesia and Mexico. It finds that unlike increases in electricity prices, which harm plants' performance, fuel price hikes result in higher productivity and profits of manufacturing plants. The results of instrumental variable estimation imply that a 10 percent increase in fuel prices would lead to a 3.3 percent increase in total factor productivity for Indonesian and 1.2 percent for Mexican plants. The evidence suggests that effects are driven by the incentives that fuel price increases provide to plants towards replacing inefficient fuel-powered with more productive electricity-powered capital equipment. These results help to re-evaluate the policy trade-off between reducing carbon emissions and improving economic performance, particularly in countries with large fuel subsidies such as Indonesia and Mexico.

Keywords: Energy Policies & Economics, Energy and Mining, Energy and Environment, Energy Demand, Food & Beverage Industry, Common Carriers Industry, Construction Industry, Business Cycles and Stabilization Policies, General Manufacturing, Plastics & Rubber Industry, Pulp & Paper Industry, Textiles, Apparel & Leather Industry, International Trade and Trade Rules, Oil Refining & Gas Industry

Suggested Citation

Cali, Massimiliano and Cantore, Nicola and Iacovone, Leonardo and Pereira Lopez, Mariana De La Paz and Presidente, Giorgio, Too Much Energy: The Perverse Effect of Low Fuel Prices on Firms (October 10, 2019). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 9039, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3485923

Nicola Cantore

Overseas Development Institute (ODI) ( email )

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Leonardo Iacovone

World Bank ( email )

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University of Sussex ( email )

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Mariana De La Paz Pereira Lopez

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Giorgio Presidente

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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