Unequal Carbon Exchanges: The Environmental and Economic Impacts of Iconic U.S. Consumption Items

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Nov 25, 2015
Christina Prell and Kuishuang Feng



In this article, we track how consumption in the United States, a highly developed “core” country, triggers value added and carbon inequalities around the globe. We consider these two sources of inequality for all commodities and services consumed in the United States, and then for three specific sectors, these being electronics, motor vehicles, and wearing apparel. Our findings show how the production of commodities for U.S. consumption tends to reify inequalities between countries. Larger shares of value added (in comparison to shares of carbon emissions) are generally experienced by more-developed, more-integrated countries, whereas the opposite tendency is experienced in less-developed, less-integrated regions. We note how these between-country differences can depend on the product chains that are analyzed. Our article makes use of a novel combination of social network analysis and multiregional input-output analysis to better capture some intuitive ideas of global trade and its consequences.

DOI for citing: 
DOI: 10.1111/jiec.12377
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