Structural changes in time series

The Advanced Systems Analysis (ASA) Program in 2013 analyzed time series data of historic transitions to gain insights into how possible future transitions to sustainability might evolve.

Line graph © peepo | iStock

Line graph

ASA scientists focused on long-term socio-ecological transitions from the agrarian to the industrial metabolic regime and identify structural breaks in energy use in the second half of the 20th century [1].

A stabilization of per capita energy and resource use in most high-income countries was reached in the early 1970s after a period of accelerated growth of resource use since the end of World War II. Most empirical turns in trend coincide with the oil price crises of 1973 and 1979. This stabilization could offer lessons for a future sustainability transition.


[1] Wiedenhofer D, Rovenskaya E, Haas W, Pallua I, Fischer-Kowalski M (2013). Is there a 1970s syndrome? Analyzing Structural Breaks in the Metabolism of Industrial Economies, In: M. Kühn, C. Juhlin, H. Held, V. Bruckman, T. Tambach and T. Kempka (Eds.). Energy Procedia, European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2013, EGUDivision Energy, Resources & the Environment, ERE, 40, 182–191.


ASA’s main collaborators in the field of structural changes in time series include U. Dieckmann, EEP Program Director, IIASA; M. Fischer-Kowalski, Professor, Institute for Social Ecology, Austria.

Print this page

Last edited: 21 May 2014


Elena Rovenskaya

Program Director:Acting Program Director

Advanced Systems Analysis

Evolution and Ecology

T +43(0) 2236 807 608

Further information



International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313