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Scientific paper


An interdisciplinary understanding of macro rebound effects

Hans Jakob Walnum

Entry type:
Scientific paper

Year of publication:

Degrowth Conference Leipzig 2014


Rebound effects, critical realism, Interdisciplinary, socio technological structures

Abstract: This paper, delivered to the special session about rebound effects “Energy, Efficiency, and Growth - Analyzing Rebound Effects“, addresses three different positions found within the rebound debate to explain what causes rebound effects at the macro level. It outlines an energy-economic perspective in which the actors, consumers and producers in the market adjust to lower energy prices by producing and consuming more than they did before the efficiency improvement. It then addresses how rebound effects have been understood in light of evolutionary theory and thermodynamics, in which it is key that society is under constant development and that there are two forms of efficiency: energy efficiency and time efficiency. There has been a preference for time efficiency, that is, for increasing the speed of consumption and production society wide. Finally, by applying a critical-realist perspective, it looks at how social science has dealt with rebound effects at various levels.

This media entry was a contribution to the special session "Rebound Effect I: Energy, efficiency, and growth" at the 4th International Degrowth Conference in Leipzig in 2014.

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