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Ecological Footprint Inequality: A methodological review and some results

  • Jordi Teixidó-Figueras

    ()

    (Departament d’Economia Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Av. de la Universitat, 1, 43204. Reus, Spain, CREIP and XREAP)

  • Juan Antonio Duro

    ()

    (Departament d’Economia Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Av. de la Universitat, 1, 43204. Reus, Spain, CREIP and XREAP)

Scarcities of environmental services are no longer merely a remote hypothesis. Consequently, analysis of their inequalities between nations becomes of paramount importance for the achievement of sustainability in terms either of international policy, or of Universalist ethical principles of equity. This paper aims, on the one hand, at revising methodological aspects of the inequality measurement of certain environmental data and, on the other, at extending the scarce empirical evidence relating to the international distribution of Ecological Footprint (EF), by using a longer EF time series. Most of the techniques currently important in the literature are revised and then tested on EF data with interesting results. We look in depth at Lorenz dominance analyses and consider the underlying properties of different inequality indices. Those indices which fit best with environmental inequality measurements are CV2 and GE(2) because of their neutrality property, however a trade-off may occur when subgroup decompositions are performed. A weighting factor decomposition method is proposed in order to isolate weighting factor changes in inequality growth rates. Finally, the only non-ambiguous way of decomposing inequality by source is the natural decomposition of CV2, which additionally allows the interpretation of marginal term contributions. Empirically, this paper contributes to the environmental inequality measurement of EF: this inequality has been quite stable and its change over time is due to per capita vector changes rather than population changes. Almost the entirety of the EF inequality is explainable by differences in the means between the countries of the World Bank group. This finding suggests that international environmental agreements should be attempted on a regional basis in an attempt to achieve greater consensus between the parties involved. Additionally, source decomposition warns of the dangers of confining CO2 emissions reduction to crop-based energies because of the implications for basic needs satisfaction.

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File URL: http://www.pcb.ub.edu/xreap/aplicacio/fitxers/XREAP2012-15.pdf
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File URL: http://www.pcb.ub.edu/xreap/aplicacio/fitxers/XREAP2012-15.pdf
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Paper provided by Xarxa de Referència en Economia Aplicada (XREAP) in its series Working Papers with number XREAP2012-15.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2012
Date of revision: Sep 2012
Handle: RePEc:xrp:wpaper:xreap2012-15
Contact details of provider: Postal: Espai de Recerca en Economia, Facultat de Ciències Econòmiques i Empresarials, Universitat de Barcelona, c/ Tinent Coronel Valenzuela, 1-11, 08034 Barcelona
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