Ecological Unequal Exchange: International Trade and Uneven Utilization of Environmental Space in the World System

Rice, James
March 2007
Social Forces;Mar2007, Vol. 85 Issue 3, p1369
Academic Journal
We evaluate the argument that international trade influences disproportionate cross-national utilization of global renewable natural resources. Such uneven dynamics are relevant to the consideration of inequitable appropriation of environmental space in particular and processes of ecological unequal exchange more generally. Using OLS regression with slope dummy interaction terms, we analyze the effects of trade upon environmental consumption, as measured by per capita ecological footprint demand for 2002, delineated by country income level. Based on data for 137 countries, analyses reveal low- and lower middle-income countries characterized by a greater proportion of exports to the core industrialized countries exhibit lower environmental consumption. The results contradict neoclassical economic thought. We find trade shapes uneven utilization of global environmental space by constraining consumption in low and lower middle-income countries.


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