Inderscience Publishers

A survey of material flows in economic models

Various types of economic model address environmental problems. This article examines whether these can be applied to the analysis of material flows. It is important to know which types of model are most suitable to deal with particular economic, environmental or physical aspects of material flows. For this purpose five main categories of models are considered, namely economic models of natural resources, pollution models, environmental input— output models, macroeconomic models, and models with technological or evolutionary change. The main approaches and research issues relating to the economic analysis of material flows are discussed for each model type, and some examples illustrate how material flows can be integrated in the models at hand.

Keywords: environmental input—output modelling, macroeconomic modelling, mass balance, mass balance production functions, recycling, resource models, technological change, material flows

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