A simple extension of dematerialization theory: Incorporation of technical progress and the rebound effect. Magee, C. L. & Devezas, T. C. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 2016. 00000
A simple extension of dematerialization theory: Incorporation of technical progress and the rebound effect [link]Paper  doi  abstract   bibtex   
Dematerialization is the reduction in the quantity of materials needed to produce something useful over time. Dematerialization fundamentally derives from ongoing increases in technical performance but it can be counteracted by demand rebound -increases in usage because of increased value (or decreased cost) that also results from increasing technical performance. A major question then is to what extent technological performance improvement can offset and is offsetting continuously increasing economic consumption. This paper contributes to answering this question by offering some simple quantitative extensions to the theory of dematerialization. The paper then empirically examines the materials consumption trends as well as cost trends for a large set of materials and a few modern artifacts over the past decades. In each of 57 cases examined, the particular combinations of demand elasticity and technical performance rate improvement are not consistent with dematerialization. Overall, the theory extension and empirical examination indicate that there is no dematerialization occurring even for cases of information technology with rapid technical progress. Thus, a fully passive policy stance that relies on unfettered technological change is not supported by our results.
@article{magee_simple_2016,
	title = {A simple extension of dematerialization theory: {Incorporation} of technical progress and the rebound effect},
	issn = {0040-1625},
	shorttitle = {A simple extension of dematerialization theory},
	url = {//www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0040162516308022},
	doi = {10.1016/j.techfore.2016.12.001},
	abstract = {Dematerialization is the reduction in the quantity of materials needed to produce something useful over time. Dematerialization fundamentally derives from ongoing increases in technical performance but it can be counteracted by demand rebound -increases in usage because of increased value (or decreased cost) that also results from increasing technical performance. A major question then is to what extent technological performance improvement can offset and is offsetting continuously increasing economic consumption. This paper contributes to answering this question by offering some simple quantitative extensions to the theory of dematerialization. The paper then empirically examines the materials consumption trends as well as cost trends for a large set of materials and a few modern artifacts over the past decades. In each of 57 cases examined, the particular combinations of demand elasticity and technical performance rate improvement are not consistent with dematerialization. Overall, the theory extension and empirical examination indicate that there is no dematerialization occurring even for cases of information technology with rapid technical progress. Thus, a fully passive policy stance that relies on unfettered technological change is not supported by our results.},
	urldate = {2017-01-24},
	journal = {Technological Forecasting and Social Change},
	author = {Magee, Christopher L. and Devezas, Tessaleno C.},
	year = {2016},
	note = {00000},
	keywords = {limits, collapse, jevons paradox},
	file = {Magee and Devezas - 2016 - A simple extension of dematerialization theory In.pdf:C\:\\Users\\rsrs\\Documents\\Zotero Database\\storage\\UVGHPTIS\\Magee and Devezas - 2016 - A simple extension of dematerialization theory In.pdf:application/pdf}
}
Downloads: 0