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ERIC Number: EJ784290
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Dec
Pages: 28
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 81
ISSN: ISSN-0036-0112
Unequal Ecological Exchange and Environmental Degradation: A Theoretical Proposition and Cross-National Study of Deforestation, 1990-2000
Jorgenson, Andrew K.
Rural Sociology, v71 n4 p685-712 Dec 2006
Political-economic sociologists have long investigated the dynamics and consequences of international trade. With few exceptions, this area of inquiry ignores the possible connections between trade and environmental degradation. In contrast, environmental sociologists have made several assumptions about the environmental impacts of international trade, but the assumptions lack theoretical specificity and are thus empirically under-investigated. Bridging these two complementary areas of macrosociology, the present study proposes and tests a structural theory of unequal ecological exchange. The theory posits that more-developed countries externalize their consumption-based environmental costs to less-developed countries, which increase forms of environmental degradation within the latter. To test a key assertion of the theory, a weighted index of vertical trade is created that quantifies the relative extent to which exports are sent to more-developed countries. Using the index, cross-national panel analyses of deforestation, 1990-2000 are conducted to test the hypothesis that less-developed countries with higher levels of exports sent to more-developed countries experience greater rates of deforestation, net of other factors. Results of the analyses confirm the hypothesis, providing support for the theory of uneven ecological exchange. Additional findings correspond with other sociological studies of deforestation, particularly those that focus on the effects of rural and urban population growth as well as level of capital intensity and rate of economic development. (Contains 1 figure, 5 tables and 10 footnotes.)
Rural Sociological Society. 104 Gentry Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211-7040. Tel: 573-882-9065; Fax: 573-882-1473; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A