Energy Theory of value - Correlation between energy inputs and economic output of Italian Economy 2015

Published: 28 November 2022| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/spd29yptft.1
Raffaele Guarino


Questions like “what is the value?” and “how does it form?” have accompanied the debate on political economy since the beginning. Despite the foundational aspect, consulting the more than 5700 articles of the Ecological Economics Journal, only 8 in reference to "theories of value". The paper aims to reconstruct the debate around the theories of the value with particular focus on the energy theory of value. The theory is based on a partially closed Leontief's model to include labor and government into the transaction matrix. The paper discusses the methodological issues connected to these modifications of traditional input-output analysis and proposes some improvements (regarding gross capital formation) with empirical reference to the Italian economy for the year 2015. The correlation between the embedded energy and the economic value emerging from the results demonstrates the interdependence between energy inputs and economic outputs. As claimed by the same author this seriously compromises the possibility of a real decoupling. The emerging correlation rather suggests to consider the energy-work as primary factor of production. Finally, the opportunity of extending the concept of work in a physical sense offers the possibility of linking the classical approach regarding value with the more recent world-ecology conceptual framework.



Universita degli Studi di Napoli Parthenope Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie


Economy, Energy Economics