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An input-output based alternative to "ecological footprints" for tracking pollution generation in a small open economy

McGregor, P.G. and Swales, J.K. and Turner, K. (2004) An input-output based alternative to "ecological footprints" for tracking pollution generation in a small open economy. Discussion paper. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland.

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Abstract

The usefulness, rigour and consistency of Input-Output (IO) as an accounting framework is well known. However, there is concern over the appropriateness of the standard IO attribution approach, particularly when applied to environmental issues (Bicknell et al. 1998). It is often argued that the source and responsibility for pollution should be located in human private or public consumption. An example is the "ecological footprint" approach of Wackernagel and Rees (1996). However, in the standard IO procedure, the pollution attributed to consumption, particularly private consumption, can be small or even zero. Here we attempt to retain the consumption-orientation of the "ecological footprint" method within an IO framework by implementing a neo-classical linear attribution system (NCLAS) which endogenises trade flows. We argue that this approach has practical and conceptual advantages over the "ecological footprint". The NCLAS method is then applied to the small, open economy of Jersey.