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Luxury or 'lock-in'? An exploration of unsustainable consumption in the UK: 1968 to 2000

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  • Jackson, Tim
  • Papathanasopoulou, Eleni

Abstract

Sustainable consumption demands the ability to understand the patterns of resource consumption associated with changing lifestyles. This paper explores changes in resource consumption patterns in the UK between 1968 and 2000. Using an environmental input-output model, the paper tracks the fossil resource requirements attributable to 8 high-level functional purposes and finds that overall fossil resource consumption increased 35% over the 32Â year period. The four functional purposes most closely related to the provision of basic material needs showed little change over the period. The bulk of the increase in fossil resource requirements was attributable to two specific functional purposes: 1) recreation and entertainment; 2) commuting and business travel. The authors discuss the relevance of these findings for the continuing debate over the question whether rising consumption is being driven by expanding social aspirations (luxury) or whether it is the result of structural lock-in.

Suggested Citation

  • Jackson, Tim & Papathanasopoulou, Eleni, 2008. "Luxury or 'lock-in'? An exploration of unsustainable consumption in the UK: 1968 to 2000," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1-2), pages 80-95, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:68:y:2008:i:1-2:p:80-95
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Reinders, A. H. M. E. & Vringer, K. & Blok, K., 2003. "The direct and indirect energy requirement of households in the European Union," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 139-153, January.
    2. Ropke, Inge, 1999. "The dynamics of willingness to consume," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 399-420, March.
    3. Unruh, Gregory C., 2002. "Escaping carbon lock-in," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 317-325, March.
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    6. Angela Druckman & T. Jackson & E. Papathanasopoulou & P. Bradley, "undated". "Attributing Carbon Emissions to Functional Household Needs: a Pilot Framework For the UK," Regional and Urban Modeling 283600026, EcoMod.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Guillen-Royo, Monica, 2010. "Realising the 'wellbeing dividend': An exploratory study using the Human Scale Development approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 384-393, December.
    2. Druckman, Angela & Jackson, Tim, 2009. "The carbon footprint of UK households 1990-2004: A socio-economically disaggregated, quasi-multi-regional input-output model," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 2066-2077, May.
    3. Kemp-Benedict, Eric, 2013. "Material needs and aggregate demand," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 16-26.
    4. Arman, Michael & Zuo, Jian & Wilson, Lou & Zillante, George & Pullen, Stephen, 2009. "Challenges of responding to sustainability with implications for affordable housing," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(12), pages 3034-3041, October.
    5. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:9:p:1563-:d:110715 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Dai, Hancheng & Masui, Toshihiko & Matsuoka, Yuzuru & Fujimori, Shinichiro, 2012. "The impacts of China’s household consumption expenditure patterns on energy demand and carbon emissions towards 2050," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 736-750.
    7. Saamah Abdallah & Ian Gough & Victoria Johnson & Josh Ryan-Collins & Cindy Smith, 2011. "The distribution of total greenhouse gas emissions by households in the UK, and some implications for social policy," CASE Papers case152, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
    8. repec:spr:soinre:v:135:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1518-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Papathanasopoulou, Eleni, 2010. "Household consumption, associated fossil fuel demand and carbon dioxide emissions: The case of Greece between 1990 and 2006," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 4152-4162, August.
    10. Druckman, Angela & Jackson, Tim, 2010. "The bare necessities: How much household carbon do we really need?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(9), pages 1794-1804, July.
    11. Manfred Lenzen & Robert A. Cummins, 2013. "Happiness versus the Environment—A Case Study of Australian Lifestyles," Challenges, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(1), pages 1-19, May.

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