This study proposes a novel objective and quantitative evaluation framework for energy-related social equity (ESE) based on data envelopment analysis. Specifically, we integrated five social indicators of 99 countries into a single composite indicator to investigate the international distribution and change of ESE, and the progress in the energy transition with the improvement of social equity. Our findings are as follows: (1) The higher the income level of a country, the higher its ESE, but the slower its growth rate; (2) the global ESE gap is reducing (although not sufficiently) due to the catch-up by low ESE countries over the analyzed period; (3) an equitable energy transition over the analyzed period is observed in most countries (although to different degrees). Fossil fuel-based social development can contribute greatly to improving the ESE of countries in the short term, while increasing the environmental burden in the long term, and can be a heavy impediment to the realization of fully equitable societies. We finally concluded that improving social equity through increasing the share of renewable energy is crucial for countries at all income levels, and especially for low-income groups, which have the potential to leapfrog towards a fully equitable society.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Economics and Econometrics
- Strategy and Management
- Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
- Management Science and Operations Research