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Factors that affect the ecological footprint depending on the different income levels

Department of Public Finance, Feng Chia University, Taichung, 40724 Taiwan

Topical Section: Energy Policy and Economics

The ecological footprint provides a method for measuring how much lands can support the consumption of the natural resources. Development and biocapacity debates revolve mainly around the factors that affect the ecological footprint and the approaches to improve the environmental quality. Therefore, we conducted the panel analysis of data for 99 countries from 1981 to 2006 to determine what factors affect the ecological footprint. The empirical results show that the effect of GDP per capita on the ecological footprint varies for different income levels. The effect of urbanization is significantly positive across income levels, which means that the higher the rate of urbanization in high or low income country, the higher the ecological footprint. As developing countries pursue economic development, there will be an impact on the environment. The developed countries may seek to develop their economies through activities that are more detrimental to the environment. Additionally, the export of goods and services divided by GDP is significant, which means that the higher the volume of exports, the greater the burden on the environment. However, this effect is not significant across different income level models. The income effect may explain the diverse effects of export on the environment. Therefore, panel data analysis and income classification are necessary to discuss the effect of export on the environment.
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Keywords Panel data; ecological footprint; income level

Citation: Sheng-Tung Chen, Hui-Ting Chang. Factors that affect the ecological footprint depending on the different income levels. AIMS Energy, 2016, 4(4): 557-573. doi: 10.3934/energy.2016.4.557


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