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A Decomposition and Comparison Analysis of International Water Footprint Time Series


  • Roberto Roson

    () (Department of Economics, University Of Venice C� Foscari)

  • Martina Sartori

    () (Department of Economics, University Of Milan, Bicocca)


This paper deals with the construction, decomposition and comparison of water footprint time series in 40 countries and one aggregate macro-region, in the period 1995-2009. The analysis of the different �footpaths� allows us to investigate on the possible causes behind the time evolution of water footprints in the various countries. We notice that the physical and economic impact of economic growth on water resources has been significantly lower than what it could have been, for several reasons. First, both production and consumption patterns are shifting away from water intensive goods. Second, a large part of consumed water is actually not blue water, susceptible of alternative uses. Finally, we do not find strong evidence of gains in the economic productivity of water (dollars per water unit) in many countries, but we do find evidence of indirect efficiency gains, related to the composition of factors in the production processes.

Suggested Citation

  • Roberto Roson & Martina Sartori, 2015. "A Decomposition and Comparison Analysis of International Water Footprint Time Series," Working Papers 2015:01, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
  • Handle: RePEc:ven:wpaper:2015:01

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Thomas Wiedmann & Richard Wood & Jan Minx & Manfred Lenzen & Dabo Guan & Rocky Harris, 2010. "A Carbon Footprint Time Series Of The Uk - Results From A Multi-Region Input-Output Model," Economic Systems Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(1), pages 19-42.
    2. M. Antonelli & R. Roson & M. Sartori, 2012. "Systemic Input-Output Computation of Green and Blue Virtual Water ‘Flows’ with an Illustration for the Mediterranean Region," Water Resources Management: An International Journal, Published for the European Water Resources Association (EWRA), Springer;European Water Resources Association (EWRA), vol. 26(14), pages 4133-4146, November.
    3. Cazcarro, Ignacio & Duarte, Rosa & Sánchez-Chóliz, Julio, 2013. "Economic growth and the evolution of water consumption in Spain: A structural decomposition analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 51-61.
    4. Erik Dietzenbacher & Bart Los & Robert Stehrer & Marcel Timmer & Gaaitzen de Vries, 2013. "The Construction Of World Input-Output Tables In The Wiod Project," Economic Systems Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(1), pages 71-98, March.
    5. Weber, Christopher L. & Matthews, H. Scott, 2008. "Quantifying the global and distributional aspects of American household carbon footprint," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 379-391, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jared B. Fitzgerald & Daniel Auerbach, 2016. "The Political Economy of the Water Footprint: A Cross-National Analysis of Ecologically Unequal Exchange," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(12), pages 1-16, December.
    2. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:1:p:228-:d:127370 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:gam:jsusta:v:8:y:2015:i:1:p:20:d:61321 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Hailiang Ma & Chenling Shi & Nan-Ting Chou, 2016. "China’s Water Utilization Efficiency: An Analysis with Environmental Considerations," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(6), pages 1-15, May.
    5. repec:eee:eneeco:v:76:y:2018:i:c:p:303-312 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:eee:eneeco:v:72:y:2018:i:c:p:307-312 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Arjen Y. Hoekstra & Ashok K. Chapagain & Guoping Zhang, 2015. "Water Footprints and Sustainable Water Allocation," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(1), pages 1-6, December.
    8. Giovanni Pino & Pierluigi Toma & Cristian Rizzo & Pier Paolo Miglietta & Alessandro M. Peluso & Gianluigi Guido, 2017. "Determinants of Farmers’ Intention to Adopt Water Saving Measures: Evidence from Italy," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(1), pages 1-14, January.

    More about this item


    Water; Water Footprint; Structural Decomposition; Cross Country Comparison; World Input-Output Database.;

    JEL classification:

    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries
    • Q25 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Water
    • 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

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