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Revisiting water and economic growth from a long-term perspective

Rosa Duarte, Vicente Pinilla () and Ana Serrano ()

Documentos de Trabajo de la Sociedad Española de Historia Agraria from Sociedad Española de Historia Agraria

Abstract: Water use has increased notably throughout the world over the last 250 years. The industrial revolution and the long-term economic growth processes, first experienced by Western countries, and then by many other regions, put growing pressure on water resources. If we focus on economic growth, structural change and the rise in per capita income have been key factors in explaining water use trajectories. In addition, population growth has also boosted water needs worldwide. On the contrary, the increase in water use efficiency, mostly driven by technological developments, but also by improved institutions and environmental awareness, has slowed down water requirements. In this general context, our study aims to analyse the drivers of water use from a long-term perspective. More specifically, we analyse world and regional trends in water use over the last century and their relationships with population, economic growth and technological change. We pay particular attention to the second half of the last century and the twenty-first century, given the rising demands linked to trade, the emergence of new economies with increasing per capita income and demands and the smooth technological change observed in developed countries.

Keywords: water history; water use drivers; water long-term trends (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N50 Q15 Q25 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 26 page
Date: 2019-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-gro, nep-his, nep-ore and nep-res
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Handle: RePEc:seh:wpaper:1903