A physical input-output table (PIOT) is a macroeconomic activity-based physical accounting system. A PIOT comprises not only the product flow of the traditional input-output table in physical units, but also material flows between the natural environment and the economy. Complete material balances can therefore be generated for the various economic activities (Stahmer, Kuhn and Braun 1997, p. 1).
Physical input-output accounting has many roots. Two main analytical strata can be distinguished; that is, production theory and national accounting. The former stratum is represented by Georgescu-Roegen (1971, ch. IX; 1979; 1984, p.28) and Perrings (1987, pt I), both developing the physical economy-environment system, and the latter by Stahmer (1988,1993), United Nations (1993a, 1993b), Radermacher and Stahmer (1998), Stahmer, Kuhn and Braun (1996, 1997, 1998). Both were interlinked and complemented by Daly (1968), Katterl and Kratena (19901) and Strassert (1993, 1997, 2000a, 2000b, 2000d, 2001a). Physical input-output accounting was preceded by the concepts of materials/energy balance (Kneese, Ayres and d'Arge 1970; Ayres 1978, 1993a) and material flow accounting (MFA): see Chapter 14.
A first complete PIOT, that is, a macroeconomic material flow account in the form of an input-output table, was presented for Germany 1990 ('Old Länder') by the Federal Statistical Office (see Stahmer, Kuhn and Braun 1996, 1997, 1998). As statistical units of materials, tons are used. The original matrix comprises 58 production activities of the conventional monetary input-output accounting, plus an additional sector for external environmental protection services. In the meantime, the German input-output accounting has been revised repeatedly and the analytical concept has developed (see below). Another official national PIOT was established for Denmark in 1990 (Gravgärd 1998). Other initiatives should be also be mentioned; for example, a derivative PIOT for a German Bundesland, Baden-Württemberg in 1990 (see Acosta 1998), a small national PIOT for Italy (Nebbia 1999) or an experimental three-sector PIOT for the USA in 1993. See Acosta (2000), who used revised flow charts for the major mass flows in the US economy, 1993, from Ayres and Ayres (1998).
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