Anne Owen attends Input-Output conference in Seoul, Korea

The 24th International Input-Output Conference was held at the Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea this year between the 4th and 8th of July.

Yonsei University in Seoul:


Input-output is a macro-economic technique used by CIEMAP researchers to calculate the consumption-based account of the UK and it allows us to understand the effect of demand on energy and materials use. This year, Anne presented two research papers, based on CIEMAP research. The first explored how the UK’s energy footprint differs when we use different system boundaries to describe the energy impact of industries. Assigning the energy information to the extraction industries may be a better technique for research on energy security. However, to explore energy efficiency and energy substitution policy, energy should be assigned to the industries where it is ultimately used. Anne’s second paper presented a technique to explore the food, energy water nexus by comparing product supply-chains. Anne identified the common supply chains which were large within the biomass, energy and water consumption-based accounts and also determined the value to the world economy and the number of jobs that were dependent on these chains. Both papers were received well and Anne has a number of ideas as to how to further improve the research.

Anne at the conference venue:


The input-output conference can be quite technical in nature, but these year featured a number of presentations themed around using the technique to explore societal and political research questions. For example, Prof. Geoff Hewings posed the question ‘What about the people in input-output?’ and challenged the community to further explore the role of consumption in IO calculations. He stated that households are diverse in nature and this needs to be captured in our work. For example, the spending patterns will differ vastly between older and younger households and this differing type of demand drives the need for jobs in different sectors. Keynote speaker Prof. Klaus Hubacek explored this theme further by demonstrating how expenditure profiles of differing household groups in Chicago can be used to calculate the carbon footprint of neighbourhoods. Brexit was a hot topic of conversation throughout the conference and Prof. Bart Los introduced the newest version of the World Input-Output Database (WIOD), which operates at NUTS2 level of administrative unit, by demonstrating that the regions of the UK that were most dependent on European trade were also those that voted to leave!

Chart 1 - Eurozone non performing

World Input-Output Database, University of Groningen,, 2010 data; Nick Vivyan and Chris Hanretty, ‘Estimating Constituency Opinion’,, 2014 data


Seoul is a modern and exciting city and the contrast between the old and new is striking at times. Gyeongbokgung Palace gate with city in background:


Roof detail at the Gyeongbokgung Palace:


National Museum:

national museum

Next year the conference venue is Atlantic City, USA, which promises to be a very different and interesting experience!