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Does Becoming Richer Lead to a Reduction in Natural Resource Consumption? An Empirical Refutation of the Kuznets Material Curve

Dorothée Charlier () and Florian Fizaine

No 2020.05, Working Papers from FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists

Abstract: During the last three decades, many industrializing countries have experienced economic growth, which concurred with a substantial increase in the use of materials. This fact questions the relationship between the use of biomass, fossil fuels and minerals and economic growth. Using a Material Kuznets Curve framework, this study investigates whether material use spontaneously reaches a maximum for a given level of development and declines thereafter. Using a new indicator, the material footprint (that quantifies all materials extracted to produce a country's final demand, including materials embodied in imports), we investigate this nexus confronting for the first-time different methodologies in a same empirical study. More especially, we measure the evolution of material footprint (per capita) elasticity to gdp (per capita) in four different ways. As main results, all models lead to a same nature and seem to indicate a strong and permanent link between economic growth/ economic development and raw material consumption. There is no sign of strong decoupling. Improving development and adoption of technologies becomes an emergency.

Keywords: Decoupling; EKC MKC; Material footprint; Sustainability; Leapfrogging (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q32 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 46 pages
Date: 2020-02
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ene and nep-env
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