The impacts of data deviations between MRIO models on material footprints: A comparison of EXIOBASE, Eora, and ICIO

Giljum, Stefan ORCID: and Wieland, Hanspeter and Lutter, Franz Stephan and Eisenmenger, Nina and Schandl, Heinz ORCID: and Owen, Anne (2019) The impacts of data deviations between MRIO models on material footprints: A comparison of EXIOBASE, Eora, and ICIO. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 23 (4). pp. 946-958. ISSN 10881980

Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0).

Download (875kB)


In various international policy processes such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, an urgent demand for robust consumption-based indicators of material flows, or material footprints (MFs), has emerged over the past years. Yet, MFs for national economies diverge when calculated with different Global Multiregional Input-Output (GMRIO) databases, constituting a significant barrier to a broad policy uptake of these indicators. The objective of this paper is to quantify the impact of data deviations between GMRIO databases on the resulting MF. We use two methods, structural decomposition analysis and structural production layer decomposition, and apply them for a pairwise assessment of three GMRIO databases, EXIOBASE, Eora, and the OECD Inter-Country Input-Output (ICIO) database, using an identical set of material extensions. Although all three GMRIO databases accord for the directionality of footprint results, that is, whether a countries' final demand depends on net imports of raw materials from abroad or is a net exporter, they sometimes show significant differences in level and composition of material flows. Decomposing the effects from the Leontief matrices (economic structures), we observe that a few sectors at the very first stages of the supply chain, that is, raw material extraction and basic processing, explain 60% of the total deviations stemming from the technology matrices. We conclude that further development of methods to align results from GMRIOs, in particular for material-intensive sectors and supply chains, should be an important research priority. This will be vital to strengthen the uptake of demand-based material flow indicators in the resource policy context.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This work was supported by funding from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) under the contracts No. 500050077 and No. 500061944, as well as by the European Commission under the ERC Consolidator Grant "FINEPRINT" (Grant No. 725525). Anne Owen's time was funded by a UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Fellowship Grant (EP/R005052/1).
Keywords: material footprint, multiregional input-output databases, raw material equivalents, resource policy, structural decomposition analysis, structural production layer decomposition
Divisions: Departments > Sozioökonomie > Ecological Economics
Kompetenzzentren > Sustainability Transf. & Responsibility
Version of the Document: Published
Depositing User: Gertraud Novotny
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2019 09:42
Last Modified: 05 Nov 2019 13:04
Related URLs:


View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics