A method to create carbon footprint estimates consistent with national accounts

Bram Edens*, Rutger Hoekstra, Daan Zult, Oscar Lemmers, Harry Wilting, Ronghao Wu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Although multiregional input–output (MRIO) databases use data from national statistical offices, the reconciliation of various data sources results in significantly altered country data. This makes it problematic to use MRIO-based footprints for national policy-making. This paper develops a potential solution using the Netherlands as case study. The method ensures that the footprint is derived from an MRIO dataset (in our case the World Input–Output Database (WIOD)) that is made consistent with Dutch National accounts data. Furthermore, usage of microdata allows us to separate re-exports at the company level. The adjustment results in a foreign footprint in 2009 that is 22% lower than the original WIOD estimates and a significantly altered country allocation. We demonstrate that already in the data preparation phase due to the treatment of re-exports and margins, large differences arise with Dutch national statistics, which may help explain the variation in footprint estimates across MRIO databases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440-457
JournalEconomic Systems Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Carbon footprint
  • Multiregional input–output analysis
  • Official statistics
  • Uncertainty analysis


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