Aggregation error of the material footprint: the case of the EU

Weinzettel, J: Aggregation error of the material footprint: the case, Economic System Research, 2021.


The material footprint (raw material consumption) was proposed as a basis for monitoring SDGs 8.4 and 12.2. However, there is no institutionalized procedure providing globally consistent national material footprints. The OECD aims to institutionalize the material footprint through the development of one official inter-country input–output (ICIO) database applicable for its calculation. Inherent to input–output analysis is the aggregation error, which may impair the results. Therefore, in the case of the EU I analyze the aggregation error which can be expected if NACE rev2 classification is utilized for this ICIO database, and investigate the most important disaggregations, depending on the desired focus of the results. I conclude that the disaggregation level should reflect the intended purpose of the RME indicators. For their deeper analysis, and determination of strategies for their decrease, I conclude that NACE rev2 classification is inappropriate, and recommend high disaggregation and utilization of hybrid units.


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