IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Capitalism, State Economic Policy and Ecological Footprint: An International Comparative Analysis


  • Ş İlgü Özler

    (Ş İlgü Özler received her Ph.D. in Political Science from University of California, Los Angeles and is now an Assistant Professor of Political Science at State University of New York at New Paltz. Her research focuses on the relationship between civil society, social movements and political parties in Latin America-especially in Mexico and Chile-and also in Turkey. She has published articles in Turkish Studies Journal and in Mexican Studies Journal.)

  • Brian K. Obach

    (Brian Obach received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2000. He is now an Associate Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York at New Paltz. He conducts research on social movements, political economy and the environment. He is the author of Labor and the Environmental Movement: The Quest for Common Ground (2004). He has also published articles in scholarly journals such as Organization and Environment, Social Science Quarterly, and Society and Natural Resources, among others.)


This article examines the relationship between state economic policy and environmental performance. It tests the hypothesis that a greater reliance on free market policies leads to higher levels of resource use and pollution. This issue sits at the heart of much theoretical debate about the role of capitalism in environmental performance. The Economic Freedom Index is used as a measure of the degree to which states adhere to free market policies. Environmental performance is measured through the use of per capita ecological footprint, a measure that accounts for a broad range of resource use and pollution. Pooled time series analysis is used to examine economic policies and environmental performance in 110 countries from the years 1996 to 2003. The results indicate that free market policies are associated with greater ecological degradation, but that not all aspects of capitalism have this negative effect. (c) 2009 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Ş İlgü Özler & Brian K. Obach, 2009. "Capitalism, State Economic Policy and Ecological Footprint: An International Comparative Analysis," Global Environmental Politics, MIT Press, vol. 9(1), pages 79-108, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:glenvp:v:9:y:2009:i:1:p:79-108

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Sevil Acar & Ahmet Atil Asici, 2015. "Does Income Growth Relocate Ecological Footprint?," Working Papers 938, Economic Research Forum, revised Sep 2015.
    2. Ahmet ATIL ASICI & Sevil ACAR, 2017. "The carbon footprint of countries’ production and imports: an Environmental Kuznets Curve approach," Region et Developpement, Region et Developpement, LEAD, Universite du Sud - Toulon Var, vol. 46, pages 7-19.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tpr:glenvp:v:9:y:2009:i:1:p:79-108. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ann Olson). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.