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Industrial investment in energy efficiency could harm adopting plant's long term performance. Although total energy spending decreases, energy cost per output increases 20% after investment, along with 8% productivity decline. These are the main conclusions we reach by conducting the first large-scale study on cogeneration technology adoption – a prominent form of energy-saving investments – in the U.S. manufacturing sector, using a sample that runs from 1982 to 2010 and drawing on multiple data sources from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Our baseline results using difference-in-difference and a series of event studies are robust across specifications, with nonparametric matching, and IV strategies.


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