Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 1916–1928 | Cite as

Investigating the environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis: the role of tourism and ecological footprint

  • Ilhan OzturkEmail author
  • Usama Al-Mulali
  • Behnaz Saboori
Research Article


The main objective of this study is to examine the environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) hypothesis by utilizing the ecological footprint as an environment indicator and GDP from tourism as the economic indicator. To achieve this goal, an environmental degradation model is established during the period of 1988–2008 for 144 countries. The results from the time series generalized method of moments (GMM) and the system panel GMM revealed that the number of countries that have a negative relationship between the ecological footprint and its determinants (GDP growth from tourism, energy consumption, trade openness, and urbanization) is more existent in the upper middle- and high-income countries. Moreover, the EKC hypothesis is more present in the upper middle- and high-income countries than the other income countries. From the outcome of this research, a number of policy recommendations were provided for the investigated countries.


Ecological footprint GDP from tourism Environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis The generalized method of moments 


Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical statement

The manuscript has not been previously published, is not currently submitted for review to any other journal, and will not be submitted elsewhere before a decision is made by this journal.


  1. Akinboade OA (2010) International tourism and economic development in South Africa: a Granger causality test. Int J Tourism Res 12:149–163Google Scholar
  2. Al-mulali U, Fereidouni HG, Lee JY, Mohammed AB (2013) Estimating the tourism-led growth hypothesis: a case study of the Middle East countries. Anatolia – An International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research 25:290–298Google Scholar
  3. Al-Mulali U, Tang C.F, Ozturk I (2015) Does financial development reduce environmental degradation? Evidence from a panel study of 129 countries. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, forthcoming. 10.1007/s11356-015-4726-x
  4. Arellano M, Bover O (1995) Another look at the instrumental variable estimation of error-components models. J Econ 68:29–51Google Scholar
  5. Apergis N, Payne JE (2010) The emissions, energy consumption, and growth nexus: evidence from the commonwealth of independent states. Energy Policy 38:650–655CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Belloumi M (2010) The relationship between tourism receipts, real effective exchange rate and economic growth in Tunisia. Int J Tourism Res 12:550–560Google Scholar
  7. Ben Jebli M, Ben Youssef S (2015) Economic growth, combustible renewables and waste consumption, and CO2 emissions in North Africa. Environ Sci Pollut Res. DOI:  10.1007/s11356-015-4792-0.
  8. Blake A, Arbache JS, Sinclair MT, Teles V (2008) Tourism and poverty relief. Ann Tourism Res 35:107–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Blundell R, Bond S (1998) Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models. J Econ 87:115–143Google Scholar
  10. Brida JG, Risso WA (2010) Tourism as a determinant of long-run economic growth. J Policy Res Tour Leis Events 2:14–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chou MC (2013) Does tourism development promote economic growth in transition countries? A panel data analysis. Econ Model 33:226–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cole MA, Rayner AJ, Bates JM (1997) The environmental Kuznets curve: an empirical analysis. Environ Dev Econ 2:401–416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. de Bruyn SM, van den Bergh JCJM, Opschoor JB (1998) Economic growth and emissions: reconsidering the empirical basis of environmental Kuznets curves. Ecol Econ 25:161–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dubois G, Peeters P, Ceron JP, Gössling S (2011) The future tourism mobility of the world population: emission growth versus climate policy. Transp Res Part A 45:1031–1042Google Scholar
  15. Dunning JH, Kundu SK (1995) The internationalization of the hotel industry. Manag Int Rev 35:101–103Google Scholar
  16. Egli H (2004) The environmental Kuznets curve-evidence from time series data for Germany. Working Paper Series 04–33, Institute of Economic Research, ZurichGoogle Scholar
  17. Energy Information Administration (2013). International Energy Statistics. Washington, DC, Available from:
  18. Euromonitor International (2013). Global Market Information Database (GMID) [online]. [Acessed on July 19th, 2013] from
  19. Farhani S, Ozturk I (2015) Causal relationship between CO2 emissions, real GDP, energy consumption, financial development, trade openness and urbanization in Tunisia. Environ Sci Pollut Res. DOI:  10.1007/s11356-015-4767-1.
  20. Fischer C (2004) The influence of immigration and international tourism on the demand for imported food products. Food Economics-Acta Agric Scand Sect C 1:21–33Google Scholar
  21. Fodha M, Zaghdoud O (2010) Economic growth and pollutant emissions in Tunisia: an empirical analysis of the environmental Kuznets curve. Energ Pol 38:1150–1156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Friedl B, Getzner M (2003) Determinants of CO2 emissions in a small open economy. Ecol Econ 45:133–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Global Footprint Network (2013a) Ecological footprint. Oakland, USA; [Online] [Accessed on 20th September 2013] Available from:
  24. Global Economic Monitor Commodities (2013b). Global economic monitor (GEM) commodities. Washington, DC; Available from:
  25. Gholipour HF, Masron TA (2011) The effect of tourism agglomeration on foreign real estate investment. Int J Strateg Prop Manag 15:222–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gholipour HF, Al-mulali U (2014) The interaction between tourism and FDI in real estate in OECD countries. Curr Issues Tour 17(2):105–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ghosh S (2010) Examining carbon emissions-economic growth nexus for India: a multivariate cointegration approach. Energ Pol 38:2613–3130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gössling S (2002) Global environmental consequences of tourism. Glob Environ Chang 12:283–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Gössling S (2013) National emissions from tourism: an over looked policy challenge? Energ Pol 59:433–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hayashi F (2000) Econometrics. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJGoogle Scholar
  31. He J, Richard P (2010) Environmental Kuznets curves for CO2 in Canada. Ecol Econ 69:1083–1093CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Holden A (2009) The environment-tourism nexus influence of market ethics. Ann Tourism Res 36:373–389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Holtz-Eakin D, Selden TM (1995) Stoking the fires? CO2 emissions and economic growth. J Public Econ 57:85–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Holzner M (2011) Tourism and economic development: the beach disease? Tour Manag 32:922–933CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hossain S (2011) Panel estimation for CO2 emissions, energy consumption, economic growth, trade openness and urbanization of newly industrialized countries. Energ Pol 39:6991–6999CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hye QMA, Khan REA (2013) Tourism-led growth hypothesis: a case study of Pakistan. Asia Pac J Tour Res 18:303–313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Iwata H, Okada K, Samreth S (2010) Empirical study on the environmental Kuznets curve for CO2 in France: the role of nuclear energy. Energ Pol 38:4057–4063CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Jalil A, Mahmud SF (2009) Environment Kuznets curve for CO2 emissions: a cointegration analysis. Energ Pol 37:5167–5172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Jalil A, Mahmood T, Idrees M (2013) Tourism–growth nexus in Pakistan: evidence from ARDL bounds tests. Econ Model 35:185–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Khan H, Toh RS, Chua L (2005) Tourism and trade: cointegration and Granger causality tests. J Travel Res 44:171–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kim HJ, Chen MH, Jang S (2006) Tourism expansion and economic development: the case of Taiwan. Tour Manag 27:925–933CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Kulendran N, Wilson K (2000) Is there a relationship between international trade and international travel? Appl Econ 32:1001–1009CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lean HH, Tang CF (2010) Is the tourism-led growth hypothesis stable for Malaysia? A note. Int J Tourism Res 12:375–378CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Lean HH, Smyth R (2010) CO2 emissions, electricity consumption and output in ASEAN. Appl Energy 87:1858–1864CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Lee JW, Brahmasrene T (2013) Investigating the influence of tourism on economic growth and carbon emissions: evidence from panel analysis of the European Union. Tour Manag 38:69–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Lee CC, Chang CP (2008) Tourism development and economic growth: a closer look at panels. Tour Manag 29:180–192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Lindmark M (2002) An EKC-pattern in historical perspective: carbon dioxide emissions, technology, fuel prices and growth in Sweden 1870–1997. Ecol Econ 42:333–347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Menyah K, Wolde-Rufael Y (2010) Energy consumption, pollutant emissions and economic growth in South Africa. Energy Econ 32:1374–1382CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Muchapondwa E, Stage J (2013) The economic impacts of tourism in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa: is poverty subsiding? Nat Res Forum 37:80–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Nasir M, Rehman FU (2011) Environmental Kuznets curve for carbon emissions in Pakistan: an empirical investigation. Energ Pol 39:1857–1864CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Neto F (2003) A new approach to sustainable tourism development: moving beyond environmental protection. Nat Res Forum 27:212–222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Ozturk I, Acaravci A (2010) CO2 emissions, energy consumption and economic growth in Turkey. Renew Sust Energ Rev 14:3220–3225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Ozturk I, Uddin GS (2012) Causality among carbon emissions, energy consumption and growth in India. Econ Res 25(3):752–775Google Scholar
  54. Ozturk I, Al-Mulali U (2015) Investigating the validity of the environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis in Cambodia. Ecol Indic 57:324–330CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Ozturk I (2015). Measuring the impact of energy consumption and air quality indicators on climate change: evidence from the panel of UNFCC classified countries. Environ Sci Pollut Res. 10.1007/s11356-015-4757-3
  56. Paci R, Marrocu E (2013) Tourism and regional growth in Europe. Pap Reg Sci 93(S1):S25–S50Google Scholar
  57. Pao HT, Tsai CM (2010) CO2 emissions, energy consumption and economic growth in BRIC countries. Energ Pol 38:7850–7860CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Perch-Nielsen S, Sesartic A, Stucki M (2010) The greenhouse gas intensity of the tourism sector: the case of Switzerland. Environ Sci Pol 13:131–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Roberts JT, Grimes PK (1997) Carbon intensity and economic development 1962–1991: a brief exploration of the environmental Kuznets curve. World Dev 25:191–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Roca J (2003) Do individual preferences explain environmental Kuznets curve? Ecol Econ 45:3–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Roca J, Padilla E, Farré M, Galletto V (2001) Economic growth and atmospheric pollution in Spain: discussing the environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis. Ecol Econ 39:85–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Saboori B, Sulaiman J, Saidatulakmal M (2012) Economic growth and CO2 emissions in Malaysia: a cointegration analysis of the Environmental Kuznets Curve. Energ Pol 51:184–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Saboori B, Sulaiman J (2013) Environmental degradation, economic growth and energy consumption: evidence of the environmental Kuznets curve in Malaysia. Energ Pol 60:892–905CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Saenz-de-Miera O, Rosselló J (2014) Modeling tourism impacts on air pollution: the case study of PM10 in Mallorca. Tour Manag 40:273–281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Sanford DM, Dong H (2000) Investment in familiar territory: tourism and new foreign direct investment. Tour Econ 6:205–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Santana-Gallego M, Ledesma-Rodriguez F, Perez-Rodrıguez JV (2011) Tourism and trade in OECD countries. A dynamic heterogeneous panel data analysis. Empir Econ 41:533–554CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Sargan J (1988) Testing for misspecification after estimation using instrumental variables. In: Maasoumi E (ed) Contributions to econometrics: John Denis Sargan, vol 1. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  68. Sari R, Soytas U (2009) Are global warming and economic growth combatable? Evidence from five OPEC countries. Appl Energy 86:1887–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Shafik N, Bandyopadhyay S (1992) Economic growth and environmental quality: time series and cross-country evidence. Background Paper for the World Development Report. The World Bank, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  70. Shahbaz M, Lean H, Shabbir MS (2012) Environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis in Pakistan: cointegration and Granger causality. Renew Sust Energ Rev 16:2947–2953CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Shahbaz M, Khraief N, Uddin GS, Ozturk I (2014) Environmental Kuznets curve in an open economy: a bounds testing and causality analysis for Tunisia. Renew Sust Energ Rev 34:325–336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Shan J, Wilson K (2001) Causality between trade and tourism: empirical evidence from China. Appl Econ Lett 8:279–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Stern DI, Common MS (2001) Is there an environmental Kuznets curve for sulfur? J Environ Econ Manag 41:162–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Stern DI, Common MS, Barbier EB (1996) Economic growth and environmental degradation: a critique of the environmental Kuznets curve. World Dev 24:1151–1160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Suri V, Chapman D (1998) Economic growth, trade and the environment: implications for the environmental Kuznets curve. Ecol Econ 25:195–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Tang S, Selvanathan EA, Selvanathan S (2007) The relationship between foreign direct investment and tourism: empirical evidence from China. Tour Econ 13:25–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Tang CF (2011) Is the tourism-led growth hypothesis valid for Malaysia? A view from disaggregated tourism markets. Int J Tourism Res 13:97–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Tang CF, Abosedra S (2014) Small sample evidence on the tourism-led growth hypothesis in Lebanon. Curr Issues Tour 17:234–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Tang CF, Tang EC (2013) How stable is the tourism-led growth hypothesis in Malaysia? Evidence from disaggregated tourism markets. Tour Manag 37:52–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Torras M, Boyce JK (1998) Income, inequality, and pollution: a reassessment of the environmental Kuznets curve. Ecol Econ 25:147–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Thomas F (2013) Addressing the measurement of tourism in terms of poverty reduction: tourism value chain analysis in Lao PDR and Mali. Int J Tourism Res 16(4):368–376CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Tsai KT, Lin TB, Hwang RL, Huang YJ (2014) Carbon dioxide emissions generated by energy consumption of hotels and homestay facilities in Taiwan. Tour Manag 42:13–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Vita GD, Katircioglu S, Altinay L, Fethi S, Mercan M, (2015) Revisiting the environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis in a tourism development context. Environ Sci Pollut Res. DOI:  10.1007/s11356-015-4861-4.
  84. World Travel and Tourism Council (2013) Economic Impact Research, [online]. [Accessed on July 19th, 2014]

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Economics and Administrative SciencesCag UniversityMersinTurkey
  2. 2.Faculty of BusinessMultimedia UniversityMelakaMalaysia
  3. 3.Centre of Real Estate Studies, Department of Real Estate, Faculty of Geoinformation & Real EstateUniversiti Teknologi MalaysiaJohor BahruMalaysia

Personalised recommendations