Determinants of ecological footprint in MENA region: application of Extreme Bounds Analysis (EBA) approach

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Agricultural Economics, School of Agriculture, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran


Introduction: Environmental degradation such as greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions in the atmosphere, deforestation and collapsing fisheries indicate that human demand is exceeding the capacity of the biosphere. Therefore, in the most environmental studies, the greenhouse gases emission used an indicator of environmental impacts. But, a major weakness of these studies is that greenhouse gases emission such as carbon dioxide (CO2) is used as the index of environmental damage. In contrast, the ecological footprint represents a comprehensive indicator of anthropogenic pressure on the environment. Ecological Footprint (EF) measures the ecological assets that a population requires to produce the natural resources it consumes and to absorb its waste, especially carbon emissions. Ecological footprint is expressed in mutually exclusive units of area necessary to annually provide ecosystem services. Recent studies showed that the natural ecosystem of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, including land, air and water, has been seriously affected by the various variables. Therefore, in this study a robust set of control variables is identified for ecological footprint as a comprehensive index of environmental degradation.
Material and methods: To achieve this goal the Extreme Bounds Analysis (EBA) method was used for identifying a robust set of control variables. The EBA is a statistical tool, to test whether the variables suggested in previous studies are indeed robustly related to ecological footprint, independent of other explanatory variables included in the regression. Also, the KOF used as the index of Globalization. In addition, specific type of KOF include political, social and overall globalization used in the empirical analysis. The analysis covers 11 countries of MENA region from 1995 to 2014.
Results and discussion: The results of Sala-i-Martin EBA showed that energy consumption, GDP per capita, urban population and economic, social and political globalization are robust. Also, the GDP per capita, energy consumption, urban population, have a positive effect on ecological footprint. The average effect of energy consumption on ecological footprint is 0.001 and statistically significant. Therefore, an increase of energy consumption by 10 unit relates to rising ecological pressures by almost 0.01 unit. Also, an increase in the urban population increases the ecological footprint per capita consistently and is statistically significant at 1 percent level. A 0.2 global hectare increase in the ecological footprint is driven by an increase in the urban population by 10 unit. The results showed that, a 10 percent increase in economic and social globalization will enhance ecological footprint by 0.29 and 0.49 unit, respectively. According to the EBA results, a 10 unit increase in political globalization will reduce ecological footprint by 0.16 unit. The findings show that globalization may have different effects on ecological footprint.
Conclusions: The findings suggest that economic and social globalization correlates positively with the ecological footprint. In contrast, political globalization have a negative relationship with ecological footprint. According to the empirical results, the negative correlation between political globalization and ecological footprint support the “global environmental governance” hypothesis. On the other hand, the positive relationship between social globalization and ecological footprint did not support the ‘global environmental awareness’ hypothesis in MENA region.


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