MEHR Seminar: Sofia Henriques, Lund University, 'Energy Transitions, Natural Resources and Industrialization: Portugal in a Long Run Comparative Perspective'

Abstract: This talk will address the role of energy in shaping the industrialization process of a coal-poor country. An international comparison of long-run energy quantities reveals that Portugal´s transition to fossil fuels and high-energy quantities was exceptionally late when compared with early industrializers. It is argued that Portugal´s incipient industrialization during the First and Second Industrial Revolution was due to excessive energy costs. Institutional changes and the emergence of cheap oil, in the post war period, were essential factors that broke the vicious circle and contributed to rapid economic convergence. The argument that cheap energy was a necessary condition for an extensive industrialization needs to be further tested for countries facing similar resource constraints. The need for studying long-run Danish energy transitions in an international comparative perspective is discussed.