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Looking backward to look forward: water use and economic growth from a long-term perspective

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  • Rosa Duarte

    ()
    (Universidar de Zaragoza)

  • Vicente Pinilla

    ()
    (Universidad de Zaragoza)

  • Ana Serrano

    ()
    (Universidad de Zaragoza)

Abstract

Recent research has examined the relationship between natural resources and economic growth. Considered vitally important, not only for humanity’s well-being but also for ecosystem integrity, the relationship between water use and economic growth has traditionally garnered little attention by analysts. This paper studies water use trends from 1900 to 2000 throughout the world, and their main determinants. To do this, we first analyse historical water use trajectories. Second, to proceed with the determinants of water use, we reformulate the IPAT equation (Ehrlich and Holdren, 1971; Commoner et al. 1971), decomposing water use trends into changes in economic demands and in water use intensity. Finally, a simple scenario analysis is conducted, to project future water use trends under different economic, demographic and technological assumptions. The empirical evidence shows that economic and population growth have been crucial for explaining the increase in water use over the past 100 years, with significant regional differences. Nevertheless, the decline in water use intensity has been responsible for a significant reduction in the growth of total water use.

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File URL: http://www.aehe.net/2011/06/dt-aehe-1104.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Asociación Española de Historia Económica in its series Documentos de Trabajo (DT-AEHE) with number 1104.

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Length: 30
Date of creation: Jun 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ahe:dtaehe:1104

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Keywords: Water use; environmental impacts; economic growth; IPAT model; scenario analysis;

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  1. Martin Jänicke & Manfred Binder & Harald Mönch, 1997. "‘Dirty industries’: Patterns of change in industrial countries," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 9(4), pages 467-491, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Rosa Duarte & Vicente Pinilla & Ana Serrano, 2012. "Is there an environmental Kuznets curve for water use? A panel smooth transition regression approach," Documentos de Trabajo dt2012-03, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Universidad de Zaragoza.
  2. Duarte, Rosa & Mainar, Alfredo & Sánchez-Chóliz, Julio, 2013. "The role of consumption patterns, demand and technological factors on the recent evolution of CO2 emissions in a group of advanced economies," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 1-13.
  3. Duarte, Rosa & Pinilla, Vicente & Serrano, Ana, 2014. "The effect of globalisation on water consumption: A case study of the Spanish virtual water trade, 1849–1935," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 96-105.

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