11 July 2014

Lecture on Identifying Robust Determinants of the
Ecological Footprint

Lukas Figge gave a talk on Identifying Robust Determinants of the Ecological Footprint on 10 July.

Talk abstract:

GDP per capita and energy intensity of production are generally accepted key determinants of human pressures on ecological systems. The theoretical and empirical literature, however, is less clear on many other potential explanatory variables, which have more ambiguous and complex (causal) impacts on the environment. In this (working) paper we employ an Extreme Bounds Analysis (ABA) to test the robustness and impact of more than 50 potential demographic, social, technological, economic and political determinants on the Ecological Footprint (of consumption, per capita). We use a panel of 160 countries over the 1961-2009 period which allows us to test for the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) as well as control for fixed effects and development over time. A variable of special interest is the KOF index of globalization with its three dimensions, the economic, social and political. While not necessarily revealing complex causal chains, this econometric allows to test a multitude of variables from multiple domains and indicates where policy intervention may have the biggest and least ambiguous impacts.

Lukas Figge started working at the International Centre for Integrated assessment and Sustainable development (ICIS) at Maastricht University on the PhD project ‘Globalisation, Complexity and Sustainability’ in December 2011. The project is an Integrated Assessment of global trends and dynamics with a focus on globalization and the Ecological Footprint as a proxy for human pressures on the environment. The quantitative empirical analysis combines various methodologies, such as a composite index, the Maastricht Globalisation Index, panel regressions, system dynamics modeling, scenarios and the perspectives method. Lukas holds a bachelor degree in economics from the Maastricht School of Business and Economics, with an exchange semester at the Universidad del Pacifico in Lima, Peru. Thereafter, in 2011, he finished his master in public policy with a specialization in sustainable development at the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance.

Alexandra Rudolph is a PhD candidate and works at the Chair of International and Development Politics at Heidelberg University. Her research interests are focused in Development Economics and International Political Economics. Currently she is writing her PhD thesis under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Axel Dreher. She finished her Bachelor at the Otto-Friedrich University of Bamberg and the Universidad de Granada in Spain, befor she graduated in Economics at the University of Bamberg.

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Last edited: 11 July 2014

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