Macro-economy - IMAGE

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Model Documentation - IMAGE
Corresponding documentation
Model information
Institution PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL), Utrecht University (UU)
Concept The IMAGE framework can best be described as a geographically explicit assessment, integrated assessment simulation model, focusing a detailed representation of relevant processes with respect to human use of energy, land and water in relation to relevant environmental processes.
Solution method Recursive dynamic solution method
Anticipation Simulation modelling framework, without foresight. However, a simplified version of the energy/climate part of the model (called FAIR) can be run prior to running the framework to obtain data for climate policy simulations.

At the most aggregated level, economic activity is described in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. Models outside the IMAGE 3.0 framework, such as the OECD ENV-Growth model, project long-term GDP growth based on developments in key production factors (e.g., capital, labour, natural resources), and the sector composition of the economy. The various components of GDP on the production side (in particular value added (VA) per sector) and expenditures (in particular private consumption) are estimated with more detailed models that take account of inter-sector linkages, own and cross-price responses, and other factors 1.

In IMAGE 3.0, economic variables are used as model drivers for the energy demand model, and non-agricultural water demand contributing to water stress. To meet the requirements of the household energy demand model, average income is broken down into urban and rural population, and each population into quintiles of income levels. The latter is derived from the assumed uneven income distribution using the GINI factor, a measure of income disparity in a population. The macro indicator GDP per capita is also used directly in IMAGE components, such as human health, flood risk, and nutrients (for calculating urban wastewater). The agriculture model MAGNET is an economy-wide computable general equilibrium (CGE) model that reproduces exogenous GDP growth projections made in less complex economic growth models.


  1. ^  Jean Château, Rob Dellink, Elisa Lanzi (2014). An Overview of the OECD ENV-Linkages Model..