Input-output modelling for household activity-level environmental footprints: a systematic literature review

Sofia Topcu Madsen*, Bo Pedersen Weidema

*Corresponding author for this work

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Input-output analyses are increasingly used to estimate consumption-based environmental footprints. The potential of estimates of social, economic, and ecosystem consequences of lifestyle interventions can be improved by detailing the complex way that final demand arises from patterns of household activities, i.e. from how households choose to use their time. We perform a systematic literature review by searching three scientific databases and using backward citation snowballing to clarify how input-output models have been used to analyse household activity patterns. We discuss the prospects of the used methods for estimating environmental footprints associated with households’ time uses in activities. We identified 48 relevant studies, each contributing with motivations and methods that are important for household activity-level environmental footprint accounting. When linked with the market economy and environmentally extended, input-output tables detailing the use of time and money across household types provide a clear picture of the connections between the economy, the social sphere, and the environment. Realistic expenditure and time-use data structures quantify the production and consumption activities that occur in households and the associated household inequalities in time use and expenditure patterns. Household activity-level environmental footprints differ notably across household activities. The reviewed studies provide the foundation for detailed and complete environmental footprint data at the household activity level to support policy decisions targeting everyday life. The current research on the topic is patchy with only one study modelling multiple countries and only one country being modelled across years. The research needs to be harmonised and scaled up to allow for comprehensive analyses. Ideally, future modelling should cover more countries with continuous data series and harmonised data collection and analysis methods.

Original languageEnglish
Article number043003
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number4
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd.


  • environmental footprints
  • household production
  • input-output analysis
  • leisure
  • non-observed economy
  • social accounting matrix
  • time use survey


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