The relationship between human capital and environmental destruction: the case of European countries
Purpose. This study aims to examine the relationship between human capital and environmental destruction.
Methodology / approach. The analysis includes 56 years between 1961 and 2017 for 14 selected European countries. In the model established for the variables, the ecological footprint is used as the dependent variable, human capital and real national income per capita are used as independent variables. To select the appropriate test method in the analysis, we used the CADF panel unit root test, which considers the cross-sectional dependence. The Pooled Mean Group was used for model estimation.
Results. In the study, it is emphasized that human capital has an important contribution to reducing the ecological footprint as an indicator of environmental pollution. According to the results of the PMG co-integration analysis, the increase in human capital reduces the ecological footprint in European countries. Since the European countries are developed ones, the availability of a good educational infrastructure is an important factor. It increases human capital. In addition, the high level of education and welfare in European countries is effective in increasing the number of environmentally sensitive individuals. This increases the environmental quality and therefore is an important factor in reducing the ecological footprint.
Originality / scientific novelty. There are no studies in the literature examining the relationship between human capital and the ecological footprint of European countries. Therefore, this study closes a gap in the literature and takes its originality from the relationship between human capital and ecological footprint in European countries.
Practical value / implications. The practical value of the results is that human capital reduces the ecological footprint by protecting natural resources, exhibiting a more environmentally friendly behavior, and realizing production that will minimize the damage to the environment.
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