Inderscience Publishers

An econometric analysis of ecological footprint determinants: implications for sustainability

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Most research on the impact of income and other socioeconomic variables on the environment focuses on specific local environmental effects and not on the broader sustainability picture. We seek to fill the apparent gap in the literature, exploring whether and the extent to which income, economic openness, income inequality and the distribution of power influence sustainability. We employ ecological footprint data and from it derive a sustainability indicator, the ecological deficit. Using econometric analysis, we test the effects of our explanatory variables on the ecological deficit. While we find that economic openness appears to run counter to the goal of sustainability, the results for the other variables are more ambiguous and inconclusive.

Keywords: ecological footprint, ecological deficit, sustainability indicators, environmental effects, biocapacity, econometric analysis, sustainable development, economic openness, income inequality, power influence

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