Growth, Employment and Sustainability: Differences in Environmental Demands among Patterns of Development

Alexandre Gori Maia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP)
James Lazou, Unite the Union

This paper analyses the problem of growth, employment and their relationship to environmental sustainability. In particular it considers whether environmental limits to growth make it more difficult to guarantee full and good quality employment across the world economy. Results are based on panel data for 147 countries over 28 years and considers a measure of human demand for ecological resources and services (ecological footprint). This analysis leads to two important results. Firstly, by aggregating countries into relatively groups with similar economic and environmental attributes, it highlights how different economic and labour dynamics affect the demand for natural resources. Secondly, the paper provides new evidences that the elasticity between economic growth and natural resources demand has gone down throughout the last decades (relative decoupling), although overall demand has gone up due to population increases and improvements in standard of living (rebound effect).

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Presented in Session 162: Advances in Measurement and Methodology in Population, Development and Environment