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Sustainable Consumption Institute

Harald Wieser

Harald holds an interdisciplinary master's degree in Socio-Ecological Economics and Policy from Vienna University of Economics and Business.

Harald Wieser

Before joining the SCI, he worked on various research projects at:

  • the Austrian Chamber of Labour
  • the European Academy of Bolzano (EURAC), Italy
  • the International Centre for Integrated Assessment and Sustainable Development (ICIS), Maastricht University.

Research title

The pace of innovation and obsolescence: replacement cycles of mobile phones in the UK (2000-2017)

Research project

Harald's research is about the frequency at which durable goods are replaced and how this changes over time.

The historical evolution of replacement cycles is studied using the case of the British mobile phone market, covering the period from 2000 to 2017. Contrasting dominant theories that predict a shortening of replacement cycles and hence acceleration of consumption and production, this study focuses on a case in which replacement cycles have been going up and down and examines the processes underlying such fluctuations. In so doing, a socio-technical perspective on change is adopted, highlighting the interwovenness of technical and social dynamics, and the contingent nature of changes in replacement cycles.

Selected publications

  • Wieser, H. & Tröger, N. (2018). Exploring the inner loops of the circular economy: Replacement, repair, and reuse of mobile phones in Austria. Journal of Cleaner Production, 172: 3042-3055.
  • Wieser, H. (2017). Ever-faster, ever-shorter? Replacement cycles of durable goods in historical perspective. In C. A. Bakker & R. Mugge (Eds.), Volume 9: PLATE: Product Lifetimes and The Environment (pp. 426-431), Delft University of Technology, IOS Press.
  • Wieser, H. (2016). Beyond Planned Obsolescence? Product Lifespans and the Challenges to a Circular Economy. GAIA, 25/3: 156-160.