The effects of globalization on Ecological Footprints: an empirical analysis

Lukas Figge*, Oebels, K, Astrid Offermans

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Whether globalization is sustainable is a contested issue. The quantitative literature on the Maastricht Globalization Index (MGI) and the KOF index of globalization shows that globalization contributes positively to economic and human development, environmental performance, mortality, gender equality and physical integrity rights. However, globalization also drives within-country income inequality, especially in developing countries. Evidence on the effects of globalization on the ecological environment does not provide clear patterns; various dimensions of globalization have different effects on various pollutants. This article analyzes the statistical relationship between the most recent MGI (2012 edition) and the ecological dimension of sustainable development. The latter will be operationalized by considering four variants of the Ecological Footprint. The relation between globalization and sustainable development will be controlled for GDP per capita as a proxy for affluence and report the results for Pearson's correlations and multivariate regressions for up to 171 countries. We conclude that the overall index of globalization significantly increases the Ecological Footprint of consumption, exports and imports. The decomposition of globalization into different domains reveals that apart from the political dimension, all dimensions drive human pressures and demands on the environment. Globalization needs to go into new directions if it is to make a contribution toward all aspects of sustainable development.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)863-876
    Number of pages14
    JournalEnvironment, Development and Sustainability
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


    • Globalization
    • MGI
    • Sustainable development
    • Environmental footprints
    • Ecological Footprint
    • PANEL


    Dive into the research topics of 'The effects of globalization on Ecological Footprints: an empirical analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this