Understanding demand-side drivers and distribution of greenhouse gas emissions is key to design fair and efficient climate mitigation policies. In this study, we quantify the relationship between the carbon footprint of consumption and socio-economic characteristics of Belgian households. We use a dataset that combines household-level consumption data with an environmentally extended input-output model which quantifies the greenhouse gas emissions embedded in the supply chain of goods and services that households consume. Similar to studies in other countries, we find that the emission intensity (emissions per euro of expenditures) of consumption by households at the lower part of the income distribution is higher than that of richer households. The main reason is that poorer households spend a higher share of their expenditures on emissions intensive products, especially on energy and housing. We also find that living standards and household size are the most important determinants of household consumption-related emissions. The expenditure-elasticity of household emissions is less than unity, i.e. emissions increase with expenditures, but in a less than proportionate way. However, the elasticity changes when emissions from different consumption domains are analyzed. It is lowest for energy and housing and highest for services.
Zsuzsa Lévay, P., Vanhille, J., Goedemé, T. & Verbist, G. (2020). 'The association between the carbon footprint and the socio-economic characteristics of Belgian households'. INET Oxford Working Paper No. 2020-09