Economic Growth and Liquidation of Natural Capital: The Case of Forest Clearance
The importance of natural capital to economic systems is increasingly recognized. Previous empirical models of economic growth rates, however, have emphasized accumulation of physical and human capital. This paper shows that the economic growth of over 70 countries has been positively affected by liquidation of one aspect of natural capital, forests, while controlling for factors typically associated with national growth rates. The positive association was robust to additions of various covariates, such as forest exports, level of economic development, agricultural area, and geographical position. These results suggest that conversion of forests has partially fuelled the economic expansion of countries
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