The Economics of W. S. Jevons

By Sandra Peart | Go to book overview

APPENDIX 2.1 COAL CONSUMPTION

Jevons’s procedures for calculation of the average rate of increase of coal consumption (per cent) (TCQ, pp. 268-69)
1 Jevons noted that the consumption of coal depends upon the activity of trade and, therefore, varies throughout the business cycle.
2 Using the data of the Mining Record Office below, Jevons observed 1854 and 1861 as cyclical maxima.

Year

Tons

1854

64,661,401

1855

61,453,079

1856

66,645,450

1857

65,394,707

1858

65,008,649

1859

71,979,765

1860

80,042,698

1861

83,635,214

1862

81,638,338

1863

86,292,215

3 Comparing 1854 and 1861, Jevons found the average annual rate of increase over the interval to be 3.7 per cent. (The comparison of 1854 and 1864 yields a similar figure.)
4 As a cautious estimate, Jevons then rounded to obtain a 3.5 per cent average rate of increase per annum for his remaining discussion.

Jevons’s predictions regarding the future consumption of coal (TCQ, pp. 272-75)
1 Using the 3.5 per cent per annum growth rate, Jevons calculated future consumption:

Year

Consumption (millions of tons)

1861

83.6

1871

117.9

1881

166.3

1891

234.7

1901

331.0

1911

466.9

1921

658.6

1931

929.0

1941

1,310.5

1951

1,848.6

1961

2,607.5 63

-42-

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