The Rebound Effect – A Systematic Review of the Current State of Affairs


  • Marcel Biewendt
  • Florian Blaschke
  • Arno Böhnert



Review, Critical, Systematic, Literature, Rebound-Effect, Sustainability, SSE) JEL : O33


This publication is intended to present the current state of research on the rebound effect. First, a systematic literature review is carried out to outline (current) scientific models and theories. Research Question 1 follows with a mathematical introduction of the rebound effect, which shows the interdependence of consumer behaviour, technological progress, and interwoven effects for both. Thereupon, the research field is analysed for gaps and limitations by a systematic literature review. To ensure quantitative and qualitative results, a review protocol is used that integrates two different stages and covers all relevant publications released between 2000 and 2019. Accordingly, 392 publications were identified that deal with the rebound effect. These papers were reviewed to obtain relevant information on the two research questions. The literature review shows that research on the rebound effect is not yet comprehensive and focuses mainly on the effect itself rather than solutions to avoid it. Research Question 2 finds that the main gap, and thus the limitations, is that not much research has been published on the actual avoidance of the rebound effect yet. This is a major limitation for practical application by decision-makers and politicians. Therefore, a theoretical analysis was carried out to identify potential theories and ideas to avoid the rebound effect. The most obvious idea to solve this problem is the theory of a Steady-State Economy (SSE), which has been described and reviewed.