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Soutenance de thèse : Aurélien Saussay

par Estelle Carciofi - publié le , mis à jour le

Three essays on energy prices and the energy transition


This thesis takes advantage of the remarkable volatility of energy prices across both time and space over the past two decades to identify the impacts of increased fossil fuel energy prices on economic agents. It first examines one of the main sources of this renewed energy price volatility, the U.S. shale gas revolution, before turning to the analysis of two policy issues related to the implementation of carbon pricing : the risk of industrial investment relocation as a consequence of degraded competitiveness, and the distributional impacts of increased gasoline prices for households.
The first chapter performs a detailed statistical analysis of an original dataset of 40,000 U.S. shale gas wells to calibrate a techno-economic model of shale gas extraction profitability, and finds that the shale gas revolution is not transferrable to continental Europe. The second chapter combines a database of 70,000 industrial M&A transactions covering 20 years and 41 countries with a sectoral industrial energy price index to identify the impact of relative energy prices on industrial investment location. Findings imply that firms tend to engage in more cross-border investments when their domestic energy prices increase in relative terms against foreign prices, which broadly supports the pollution haven hypothesis. Counterfactual policy simulations show that this effect is limited though. The third chapter develops a simple dynamic model of household gasoline consumption, using the rational habits framework to capture the intertemporal dimension of gasoline demand. This model is then estimated on PSID household-level data between 1999 and 2015 using localized gasoline prices. Estimation results show that households exhibit habits formation and forward-looking behavior in their gasoline consumption, and find a -0.88 long term price elasticity. Micro-simulations also find suggestive evidence of interactions between dynamic heterogeneity and the regressivity of gasoline price increases.
The findings of this thesis strengthen the case for compensatory policies aimed at improving carbon pricing acceptance by economic agents, and provide tools that can contribute to their design and calibration.


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