Causality between Trade Openness and Energy Consumption: What Causes What in High, Middle and Low Income Countries

Trade liberalisation has affected the flow of trade (goods and services) between developed and developing countries. The Heckscher-Ohlin trade theory reveals that under free trade, developing countries would specialise in the production of those goods that are produced by relatively abundant factors of production such as labour and natural resources. Developed countries would specialise in the production of those goods that are produced by human capital and manufactured in capital-intensive activities. Trade openness entails movement of goods produced in one country for either consumption or further processing to other country. Production of those goods is not possible without the effective use of energy. Trade openness affects energy demand via scale effect, technique effect and composite effect. Other things being same, trade openness increases economic activities, thus stimulates domestic production and hence economic growth. A surge in domestic production increases energy demand , which is commonly referred as scale effect. Such scale effect is caused by trade openness. Economic condition of the country and extent of relationship between economic growth and trade openness determine the impact of trade openness on energy consumption [Shahbaz, et al. (2013); Cole (2006)]. Trade openness enables developing economies to import advanced technologies from developed economies. The adoption of advanced technology lowers energy intensity. The use of advanced technologies result in less energy consumption and more output that is usually referred to as technique effect [Arrow (1962)]. Composite effect reveals the shift of production structure from agriculture to industry with the use of energy intensive production techniques. In initial stages of economic development economy is based largely on agriculture sector, thus the use of energy is relatively less. As economy starts shifting from agriculture to industry, the energy consumption increases.

Muhammad Shahbaz

Samia Nasreen

Chong Hui Ling

Rashid Sbia