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The foundations of the environmental rebound effect and its contribution towards a general framework

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  • Font Vivanco, David
  • McDowall, Will
  • Freire-González, Jaume
  • Kemp, René
  • van der Voet, Ester

Abstract

The study of the so-called rebound effect has traditionally pertained to the domain of neoclassical energy economics. In recent years, other disciplines have applied this concept in the context of the environmental assessment of products and policies, and multiple perspectives have unfolded more or less in parallel. Among these, the environmental rebound effect (ERE) perspective, focused on efficiency changes and indicators that go beyond energy to multiple environmental issues, has remained relatively unnoticed. This article thus asks the following questions: What are the foundational aspects of the ERE and how these relate to other perspectives? Are there irreconcilable differences between perspectives? And what is the value of the ERE towards a general framework? We map the fundamental ideas behind the ERE and find that the lack of articulation has resulted in inconsistent usage and lack of clarity. We also argue that the ERE offers many valuable insights for rebound assessment, such as the study of broader efficiency changes and of innovations aimed at tackling multiple environmental issues. Perhaps most importantly, the ERE helps bringing together the existing rebound perspectives, as its application shows that it is both possible and valuable to articulate broader definitions for the rebound effect.

Suggested Citation

  • Font Vivanco, David & McDowall, Will & Freire-González, Jaume & Kemp, René & van der Voet, Ester, 2016. "The foundations of the environmental rebound effect and its contribution towards a general framework," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 60-69.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:125:y:2016:i:c:p:60-69
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2016.02.006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Lu, Yingying & Liu, Yu & Zhou, Meifang, 2017. "Rebound effect of improved energy efficiency for different energy types: A general equilibrium analysis for China," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 248-256.
    2. Freire-González, Jaume, 2017. "Evidence of direct and indirect rebound effect in households in EU-27 countries," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 270-276.
    3. repec:eee:appene:v:221:y:2018:i:c:p:280-298 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:energy:v:128:y:2017:i:c:p:394-402 is not listed on IDEAS

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