Material flows and resource productivity in China, South Korea and Japan from 1970 to 2008: A transitional perspective

Liang Dong, Ming Dai, Hanwei Liang, Ning Zhang, Nabeel Mancheri, Jingzheng Ren, Yi Dou, Mingming Hu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


These three countries are in different level of developmental stages from emerging economy to matured developed economy. We hereby provide a laboratory idea to investigate the socio-economic metabolism under typical development stages, so that enlightenment on global resource management policy making can be made. This study is based on a long-time series data on the material flow analysis on China, South Korea and Japan, applied with up-to date standardized methodologies of material flow accounting. Material flows, resource productivity data, indicators as well as Environmental Kuznets Curve are presented and compared from 1970 to 2008. Driving forces for the material flow change were further investigated with IPAT approach. Obvious differences of resource efficiency, productivity and consumption patterns were verified. Japan presented the trend of dematerialization and technology effects made significant contribution; China was highlighted with surging resource consumption stage, mainly driven by the economic and population factors, even though the resource efficiency was significantly enhanced in the past three decades. South Korea presented the combined features of China and Japan in different stages. Based on the analytical results, information and insights behind results, like the industrial structure, value chain position in the global supply-demand chain and how they had impacts on the resource efficiency and productivity were discussed in-depth. The research results provide critical insights to future effective and efficient global resource management policy making.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1164-1177
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • East Asia
  • IPAT
  • Material flow analysis
  • Resource productivity
  • Transition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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