University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU) - Research portal

Logo BOKU Resarch Portal

Selected Publication:

Weisz, H; Krausmann, F; Amann, C; Eisenmenger, N; Erb, KH; Hubacek, K; Fischer-Kowalski, M.
(2006): The physical economy of the European Union: Cross-country comparison and determinants of material consumption
ECOL ECON. 2006; 58(4): 676-698. FullText FullText_BOKU

In this paper we investigate what determines observed differences in economy-wide material use among the EU-15 member states. The empirical basis for our analysis is an extended and revised material flow data set for each of the EU-15 countries in time series from 1970 to 2001. This data set comprises consistent data for domestic extraction, imports and exports as well as for derived material flow indicators, broken down by 12 types of materials. We compare the level and composition of domestic material consumption (DMC) in the EU-15 member states and identify determinants of the observed differences. Across the European Union member states overall DMC per capita varies by a factor of three ranging between 12 tonnes per capita in Italy and the United Kingdom and 37 tonnes per capita in Finland. This variability of DMC in the EU-15 is in a similar order of magnitude as the variability of GDP per capita or total primary energy supply per capita. Linear correlation analysis reveals that national income and final energy consumption relate to material use but cannot fully account for the observed differences in material consumption. By breaking down overall material flow indicators into 12 categories of materials and analysing their use patterns in detail, we identified a number of factors, socio-economic and natural, that influence the level and composition of economy-wide material use. Many of these factors are specific for certain types of materials, others are more general, and quite some driving factors counteract each other regarding the direction of their influence. Concluding we summarize the most important driving factors for domestic material consumption stressing population density as largely neglected but important explanatory variable for material use patterns, discuss issues of environmental significance, aggregation and the use of different denominators in material flow accounting and suggest a re-interpretation of DMC. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Authors BOKU Wien:
Eisenmenger Nina
Erb Karlheinz
Fischer-Kowalski Marina
Krausmann Fridolin

Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
physical economy
material flow analysis
material flow accounting
European Union
industrial metabolism
domestic material consumption (DMC)

© BOKU Wien Imprint