About the JEVONS project
The JEVONS project is a research project with the objective of obtaining a better understanding of the Jevons’ Paradox and its potential solutions. We will investigate how government interventions can minimise the Jevons’ Paradox, and where is the limit of it through the case study of Catalonia.
It is funded by a Beatriu de Pinós research grant from the Government of Catalonia
In 1865, the economist William Stanley Jevons published “The Coal Question” (Jevons, 1865). In this seminal book he observed that England's consumption of coal increased after the introduction of the Watt steam engine, which improved the efficiency of the coal-fired steam engine. He argued that improvements in fuel efficiency tended to increase (rather than decrease) fuel use. In his own words: "It is a confusion of ideas to suppose that the economical use of fuel is equivalent to diminished consumption. The very contrary is the truth." This paradox was later named after him, as “the Jevons’ Paradox”, and it still remains as one of the most widely known paradoxes in ecology, economics and sustainability. 150 years later, some advances have been done in understanding its importance and mechanisms, but still, this paradox seems heading societies towards unprecedented resources exhaustion, pollution problems, and other environmental problems like climate change
The main general objective of the proposal is to obtain a better understanding of the Jevons’ Paradox and its potential solutions. Other partial objectives are detailed below. Some specific objectives can be summarized as: (i) improving the theoretical grounds for public intervention and the Jevons’ Paradox; (ii) understanding the effects of different measures and instruments on the resources consumptions when a technology development triggers a rebound effect; (iii) testing empirically the theoretical models under the use of different measures, at different levels, with the use of economic tools for empirical analysis (Computable General Equilibrium models and extensions or Input-output models and extensions); (iv) Provide new insights on the relationships between technological progress, resources consumption and economic growth in market economies contexts with different levels of government intervention. In order to accomplish these objectives, we will structure the research in 3 working packages: (i) new theoretical grounds for public intervention; (ii) new methodologies and empirical evidence and (iii) solutions and policies.