The rebound effect: An evolutionary perspective
The rebound effect presents a major flaw in to energy conservation policies that aim to reduce energy consumption through energy efficiency development. Economics and energy related disciplines have thus far developed tools to measure such a phenomenon. This paper attempts to explain this seeming paradox using a thermodynamic-evolutionary theoretical framework in addition to the traditional economic approach. We here propose that evolutionary systems, such as biological or even economic systems, may rearrange themselves in a more complex fashion under the pressure of an increasing flux of energy, driven by the higher conversion rate of greater efficiency. Higher complexity, due to a greater energy density rate, counteracts the positive effects of energy efficiency. We investigated this hypothesis in the context of the road freight transport system and the productive structure. The qualitative analysis in this paper, further substantiated by figures, provides a link between the dynamics of production patterns and the effect of efficiency in the light of the macro-economic effects of increased energy demand. The analysis departs from a rigorous investigation of the actual energy efficiency evolution in the road freight transport system to develop through a survey of the subsequent worldwide economic revolution in the production system. It is then shown how outsourcing, the key feature of globalization, can be identified as the main source of traffic density growth. Finally, four paradigms are used to stress how the shift in the production system must be considered a leap in structural complexity that consequently serves to increase the frequency of components' interactions.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- A. Greening, Lorna & Greene, David L. & Difiglio, Carmen, 2000. "Energy efficiency and consumption -- the rebound effect -- a survey," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(6-7), pages 389-401, June.
- Sorrell, Steve & Dimitropoulos, John, 2008. "The rebound effect: Microeconomic definitions, limitations and extensions," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 636-649, April.
- Berkhout, Peter H. G. & Muskens, Jos C. & W. Velthuijsen, Jan, 2000. "Defining the rebound effect," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(6-7), pages 425-432, June.
- Ayres, Robert U. & Warr, Benjamin, 2005. "Accounting for growth: the role of physical work," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 181-209, June.
- Ayres, Robert U. & van den Bergh, Jeroen C.J.M., 2005. "A theory of economic growth with material/energy resources and dematerialization: Interaction of three growth mechanisms," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 96-118, October.
- Dimitropoulos, John, 2007. "Energy productivity improvements and the rebound effect: An overview of the state of knowledge," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(12), pages 6354-6363, December.
- Paul Krugman, 1995. "Growing World Trade: Causes and Consequences," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 327-377.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:67:y:2008:i:4:p:526-537. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.