Accounting for value added embodied in trade and consumption: an intercomparison of global multiregional input–output databases

Kjartan Steen-Olsen, Anne Owen, John Barrett, Dabo Guan, Edgar G. Hertwich, Manfred Lenzen, Thomas Wiedmann

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ABSTRACT: Global multiregional input–output (MRIO) tables constitute detailed accounts of the economic activity worldwide. Global trade models based on MRIO tables are being used to calculate important economic and environmental indicators such as value added in trade or the carbon footprint of nations. Such applications are highly relevant in international trade and climate policy negotiations, and consequently MRIO model results are being scrutinized for their accuracy and reproducibility. We investigate the variation in results from three major MRIO databases by comparing underlying economic data and territorial and consumption-based results across databases. Although global value-added accounts were similar across databases, we find some significant differences at the level of individual countries and sectors. Model disagreement was relatively stable from the territorial to the consumption perspective. Pairwise matrix comparison statistics indicated that the Global Trade Analysis Project and World Input-Output Database MRIO tables were overall more similar to each other than either was to the Eora database.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-94
Number of pages17
JournalEconomic Systems Research
Issue number1
Early online date1 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Eora
  • GTAP
  • MRIO comparison
  • Multiregional input–output tables
  • WIOD

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