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

Author

Listed:
  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Rosa Duarte & Vicente Pinilla & Ana Serrano, 2011. "Looking backward to look forward: water use and economic growth from a long-term perspective," Documentos de Trabajo (DT-AEHE) 1104, Asociacion Espa–ola de Historia Economica.
  • Handle: RePEc:ahe:dtaehe:1104
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Giovanni Federico, 2005. "Introduction to Feeding the World: An Economic History of World Agriculture, 1800-2000," Introductory Chapters,in: Feeding the World: An Economic History of World Agriculture, 1800-2000 Princeton University Press.
    2. Martin Jänicke & Manfred Binder & Harald Mönch, 1997. "‘Dirty industries’: Patterns of change in industrial countries," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 9(4), pages 467-491, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ignacio Cazcarro & Rosa Duarte & Miguel Martín-Retortillo & Vicente Pinilla & Ana Serrano, 2014. "Water scarcity and agricultural growth in Spain: from curse to blessing?," Documentos de Trabajo (DT-AEHE) 1419, Asociacion Espa–ola de Historia Economica.
    2. Duarte, Rosa & Pinilla, Vicente & Serrano, Ana, 2013. "Is there an environmental Kuznets curve for water use? A panel smooth transition regression approach," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 518-527.
    3. Dorner, Zach & Brent, Daniel A. & Leroux, Anke, 2016. "Eliciting Risk Preferences for Intrinsic Attributes," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 236644, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    4. Xiaoxia Lin & Jinghua Sha & Jingjing Yan, 2015. "Exploring the impacts of water resources on economic development in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region," ERSA conference papers ersa15p723, European Regional Science Association.
    5. Rosa Duarte & Vicente Pinilla & Ana Serrano, 2015. "Global water in a global world a long term study on agricultural virtual water flows in the world," Documentos de Trabajo dt2015-03, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Universidad de Zaragoza.
    6. Duarte, Rosa & Pinilla, Vicente & Serrano, Ana, 2014. "The water footprint of the Spanish agricultural sector: 1860–2010," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 200-207.
    7. Zack Dorner & Daniel A. Brent & Anke Leroux, 2016. "Preferences for Intrinsically Risky Attributes," Monash Economics Working Papers 32-16, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • Q57 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Ecological Economics
    • N50 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - General, International, or Comparative

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