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Modelling the rebound effect with network theory: An insight into the European freight transport sector

Franco Ruzzenenti and Riccardo Basosi

Energy, 2017, vol. 118, issue C, 272-283

Abstract: This paper presents a two pronged approach to the study of the rebound effect, with the aim of assessing the magnitude of the effect in the European freight transport sector and proposing a new modelling framework based on network theory. The (direct) rebound effect is assessed with: 1) an econometric regression; 2) a model based on network theory and statistical mechanics. According to the econometric model the European road freight transport sector undergone a negative rebound between of −74% between 1998 and 2007 and −146% between 1998 and 2011. The network analysis delivers an estimation of network rebound ranging between −29.37% and −7.25. Overall, these results indicate that energy efficiency in Europe, between 1998 and 2011, succeed in reducing the energy consumptions amid an increasing demand for transports. Results on rebound estimation depend on the decision of using GDP as an exogenous variable, an assumption that leaves questions open about the causality chain between growth and transports. Furthermore, the network analysis highlights a structural change –a migration of production factors offshore, that might partially explain this negative effect. In this view, rebound effect analysis on a local or regional scale is becoming more and more uncertain in a globally interconnected economic context.

Keywords: Energy efficiency; European freight transport sector; Rebound effect; Network theory; Statistical mechanics of networks; Structural change (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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