The Azimuth Project
Jevons paradox

The Jevons paradox occurs when increasing the efficiency with which a resource is used increases the consumption of that resource. This goes back to the work of William Stanley Jevons, who in 1865 claimed that increasing the efficiency of coal use had increased its range of economically feasible applications and had thus increased coal use.

The Jevons paradox is an extreme case of the rebound effect, where increases in efficiency fail to cause the expected decrease in usage of some resource.

The Jevons paradox has been used to argue that increases in efficiency are futile as a way of conserving resources. However, this is an issue that needs to be examined empirically on a case-by-case basis. In particular, there is the issue of whether marginal utility economics is, or necessarily has to be, the only factor in the decisions people make. For details, see this page:

category: methodology