Volume 24, Issue 2 (2024)                   QJER 2024, 24(2): 27-58 | Back to browse issues page

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1- Master of energy Economics, Faculty of economic and administrative sciences, University of Mazandaran, Iran.
2- Professor, Department of Economics, Faculty of economic and administrative sciences, University of Mazandaran, Babolsar, Iran. , z.elmi@umz.ac.ir
Abstract:   (614 Views)
Economic stability via Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has sparked interesting discussions among scholars. ICT plays a crucial role in realizing sustainable development objectives. Globally, the prospective advantages of ICT are widely acknowledged. Some research has solely emphasized ICT's role in mitigating air pollution, but the ecological implications of ICT have largely been overlooked. This article is pioneering in domestic studies of ICT's influence on ecological footprint. In addition, the present research uniquely computes the ICT index through the principal component method, distinguishing it from other ICT studies conducted within Iran. In recent times, the ecological footprint has been embraced as a broader gauge for assessing environmental damage. One reason for this choice is that other environmental harm indicators, such as air and water pollution, deforestation, and others, only represent a part of the total environmental degradation. However, the ecological footprint index incorporates diverse elements like agricultural lands, pastures, fishing areas, forests, carbon footprint, and constructed lands, hence offering a more holistic measure. Concerning the topic in question, it is evident from national studies that there has been little research on identifying the factors contributing to the ecological footprint.
In this research, we investigate the impact of the information and communication technology (ICT) index on selected oil-exporting countries' ecological footprint from 2006 to 2020. To do this, we use the generalized moments method. We extracted the model of this research from the studies of Higon et al. (2017) and Caglar et al. (2021) for carbon dioxide emissions. The variables of our study include the ecological footprint (as the dependent variable), the information and communication technology index (an explanatory variable calculated using the principal component analysis (PCA) method), and control variables such as GDP per capita, exports of goods and services, financial development, and economic Complexity Index which is chosen on the review of other studies. The data used for this study are taken from databases such as the World Bank and the Global Resource Footprint Network and the Atlas of Economic Complexity.
Discussion and Conclusion:
Given the challenges posed by global warming to current and future generations, this study aims to explore the impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on the ecological footprint in chosen oil-exporting nations. This study studied the inverse U relationship of the information and communication technology index with the emission of ecological footprints from 2006 to 2020. The ecological footprint is an index of the amount of environmental pollution and a more comprehensive index than CO2. A data description was undertaken before estimating the model. The research model, built on theoretical underpinnings and past studies, was structured, and estimated by the Generalized Moments Method.
The findings showed a non-linear connection between ICT and the ecological footprint in oil-exporting countries. ICT augments the ecological footprint per capita before a certain threshold, but it begins to diminish after that.
The positive and significant coefficient of GDP per capita indicates the increase in ecological footprint per capita for the increase of GDP per capita. This result indicates that economic activities such as industrialization and development cause the exploitation of natural resources, which causes more pollution.
Financial development has had a positive and significant effect on the ecological footprint. To prevent the destructive effect of financial development on the environment, governments in selected oil-exporting countries should develop financial markets in such a way that financial resources are available for investing in projects that help introduce clean energy technologies. 
The economic complexity index has had a negative and significant effect on the per capita ecological footprint. In fact, the expansion of economic complexity in the studied countries will lead to the reduction of the ecological footprint. According to the obtained result, the economic complexity index can be considered as one of the ecological footprint control factors; Therefore, the production of more complex goods that contain higher technology can lead to a reduction in energy consumption and ecological footprint; Therefore, governments can provide tax exemptions and subsidies for those companies that use new technology and clean energy, and also support knowledge-based products.
The influence of goods and services exports on the ecological footprint has been negative and substantial. The significance of the quality and diversity of exported goods regarding environmental destruction has not yet been thoroughly considered. Therefore, the focus should be on enhancing the quality of export goods via cleaner production methods. Overall energy consumption should also be reduced in all countries, with policymakers prioritizing the use of renewable energy resources and promoting the reduction of fossil-fuel energy export products.
The influence of urban population growth on the ecological footprint has been positive and substantial. Essentially, uncontrolled population growth, especially in developing countries, creates grave issues including scarcity of food, poor air and water quality, environmental contamination, degradation of the ecological structure, waste disposal problems, and high energy usage.
Article number: 2
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Article Type: Original Research | Subject: Other Special Topics
Received: 2023/05/28 | Accepted: 2023/07/3 | Published: 2024/05/20

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