Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 56, Issue 3, pp 307–335 | Cite as

Specification and Aggregation Errors in Environmentally Extended Input–Output Models

  • Maaike C. Bouwmeester
  • Jan Oosterhaven


This article considers the specification and aggregation errors that arise from estimating embodied \(\text{ CO }_{2}\) emissions and embodied water use with environmentally extended national input–output (IO) models, instead of with an environmentally extended international IO model. Model specification errors result from the use of domestic environmental and domestic technology coefficients to estimate emissions or resources that are embodied in international trade. For \(\text{ CO }_{2}\) footprints, unacceptably large overestimations arise from using domestic emission coefficients, which are only partly canceled out by using domestic technology coefficients. For water use footprints both specification errors are smaller, but hardly cancel out. Sectoral aggregation errors occur when combining the 129 EXIOPOL industries to 59 EU industries and 10 broad sectors. The latter aggregation creates the largest errors. Spatial aggregation errors arise from combining 43 individual EXIOPOL countries in four broad regions and “the rest of the world”. Substantial, unacceptable errors occur again, now especially in relation to water use.


International input–output modeling Specification errors  Aggregation errors \(\text{ CO }_{2}\) emissions Water use EXIOPOL project 



This work is part of the EXIOPOL project (, an integrated project funded by the European Union, under Framework Programme 6, Priority 6.3 Global Change and Ecosystems, Grant agreement no. 037033-2. We thank our partners for their cooperation and Arnold Tukker, the project leader, for stimulating comments. We also thank Richard Wood, Glen Peters, an anonymous referee, and the editor, Christian Vossler, for their comments on earlier versions of the paper, and Elisabeth Nevins Caswell for editing our English.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Economics and BusinessUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

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