Towards a comprehensive framework of the relationships between resource footprints, quality of life and economic development

Cibulka, Stefan and Giljum, Stefan ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4719-5867 (2019) Towards a comprehensive framework of the relationships between resource footprints, quality of life and economic development. Ecological Economic Papers, 31. WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, Vienna.

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Abstract

The relationship between economic affluence, quality of life and environmental implications of production and consumption activities is a recurring issue in sustainability discussions. A number of studies examined selected relationships, but the general implications for future development directions of countries at different development stages are hardly addressed. In this paper, we use a global dataset with 173 countries to assess the overall relationship between resource footprints, quality of life and economic development over the period of 1990-2015. We select the Material Footprint and Carbon Footprint and contrast them with the Human Development Index, the Happiness Index and GDP per capita. Regression analyses show that the relationship between various resource footprints and quality of life generally follows a logarithmic path of development, while resource footprints and GDP per capita are linearly connected. From the empirical results, we derive a generalised path of development and cluster countries along this path. Within this comprehensive framework, we discuss options to change the path to respect planetary and social boundaries through a combination of resource efficiency increases, substitution of industries and sufficiency of consumption. We conclude that decoupling and green growth will not realise sustainable development, if planetary boundaries have already been transgressed.

Item Type: Paper
Additional Information: The work of Stefan Giljum was funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No.725525).
Keywords: Decoupling; Post-Growth; Planetary Boundaries; Quality of Life; Resource Footprints; Sustainable Development
Divisions: Departments > Sozioökonomie > Ecological Economics
Depositing User: ePub Administrator
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2019 11:56
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2019 12:09
URI: https://epub.wu.ac.at/id/eprint/7334

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