Coordinators: Ariel L. Wirkierman
Goldsmiths, University of London
Mònica Serrano
University of Barcelona

The structural analysis of the economy has a long history in economics and political economy. Ever since the pioneering work of Leontief (1936, 1937), several areas of applied economics rely on input-output techniques to obtain policy-relevant findings. This is because the representation of the economy as a set of interdependent production and consumption processes subject to structural change is a key quantitative tool to study the fine-grained details of accumulation and distribution of income and resources in society.

With its emphasis on measuring productive linkages in actual economic systems and articulating those measurements within an interconnected set of income and expenditure accounts at several possible levels of coverage (regional, national, global) and (industry) disaggregation, input-output analysis allows to trace final demand, output, resource, and income loops reflecting the behaviour of social agents.

From an analytical perspective, input-output models consider the reproduction (or quantity and growth) aspect and the price and distribution aspect of socio-economic systems (Kurz et al., 1998), as well as their multiple possible interaction mechanisms. Production and exchange are integrated, and the possibility to endogenize input-output magnitudes (e.g., technical coefficients, final consumption structure, resource use intensities) by recourse to wider determinants, allows input-output analysis to be open-ended and interdisciplinary. At the same time, by being firmly rooted in data through the measurement and articulation of national accounts, it explicitly considers the economy embedded in historical time and under continuous evolution.

The possibility to analytically separate the determination of (relative) prices and quantities allows input-output models to show that markets, as a specific social institution aimed at solving allocation problems, are not, on their own, necessarily self-sufficient. Moreover, its integration with environmental accounts renders input-output schemes a fundamental tool to understand the relationship between the economy and the wider ecosystem. Finally, as an empirically comprehensive framework of the economy, input-output analyses tend to be policy-oriented.

Possible contributions

The structural analysis of the economy from an input-output perspective has seen notorious progress in recent decades (Miller and Blair, 2022), but contemporary societal challenges (such as global climate change, the potential effects of technological changes and rising inequalities at varying scales), as well as wider availability of input-output data, call for fresh contributions. In broad terms, the research area welcomes submissions which develop and/or apply input-output techniques as one of its main analytical components. For instance, contributions ranging from the political economy of global environmental footprints and scenario analysis of potential technological unemployment induced by artificial intelligence to modelling the relationships between output determination, relative prices, and income distribution, as well as the structural decomposition of global value chains. What unifies them is the focus on input-output techniques as a method of enquiry.

 To define the scope of the research area in a more comprehensive way:

  1. Results based on the application of input-output techniques. We welcome applied work presenting novel findings in areas including (but not limited to) global trade-embodied energy and pollution, international trade and global value chains, sustainability and energy policies, employment and income distribution policies, inter-industry measurement of productivity, technological and structural change, regional productive structures, linkage, and multiplier analyses. We especially encourage contributions which develop the political economy dimensions of the results and draw policy implications.
  2.  Developing theoretical aspects of input-output models, for example, by investigating their properties and/or generalising their scope. The input-output model and its numerous extensions offer a powerful tool to understand the determination of prices and quantities based on the principle of general interdependence. This may also include contributions aimed at elucidating the historical roots and contemporary debates on alternative foundations for the input-output representation of the economy.
  3. Methodological contributions to input-output methods and data. We welcome submissions exploring quantitative techniques to build/estimate inter-industry data at different geographical levels (intra-national, national, global), to improve methods for quantifying the systemic importance of sectors of the economy (for example, by adapting metrics from network science), as well as to build an interface with different data sources, such as institutional sectors accounts or flows of funds accounts, amongst others.


Kurz, H. D., Dietzenbacher, E. and Lager, C. (1998) Input-Output Analysis -- Volume 1, The International Library of Critical Writings in Economics, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK.

Leontief, W. W. (1936) Quantitative Input and Output Relations in the Economic Systems of the United States, The Review of Economics and Statistics, 18(3):105-125. 

Leontief, W. W. (1937) Interrelation of Prices, Output, Savings, and Investment, The Review of Economics and Statistics, 19(3):109-132.

Miller, R. E. and Blair, P. D. (2022) Input-Output Analysis Foundations and Extensions, Third Edition, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.