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Dematerialization Through Services: Evaluating the Evidence

Blair Fix
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Blair Fix: York University

No bw5gm, SocArXiv from Center for Open Science

Abstract: Dematerialization through services is a popular proposal for reducing environmental impact. The idea is that by shifting from the production of goods to the provision of services, a society can reduce its material demands. But do societies with a larger service sector actually dematerialize? I test the `dematerialization through services' hypothesis with a focus on fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions --- the primary drivers of climate change. I find no evidence that a service transition leads to carbon dematerialization. Instead, a larger service sector is associated with greater use of fossil fuels and greater carbon emissions per person. This suggests that `dematerialization through services' is not a valid sustainability policy.

Date: 2019-03-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ene and nep-env
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:osf:socarx:bw5gm

DOI: 10.31219/osf.io/bw5gm

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