Investigating the impact of human capital on the ecological footprint in India: An empirical analysis

  • Zahoor AhmedEmail author
  • Zhaohua Wang
Research Article


Many recent studies have focused on the influencing factors of the ecological footprint, but less attention has been given to human capital. Human capital, which is based on education and rate of return on education, may reduce the ecological footprint since environmental issues are human-induced. The current study investigates the impact of human capital on the ecological footprint in India for the period 1971 to 2014. The outcomes of the newly developed combined cointegration test of Bayer and Hanck disclose the long-run equilibrium relationship between variables. The findings reveal a significant negative contribution of human capital to the ecological footprint. The results of the causality test show that human capital Granger causes the ecological footprint without any feedback. In addition, energy consumption adds to the ecological footprint, while the relationship between economic growth and ecological footprint follows an inverted U-shaped pattern. The findings unveil the potential to reduce the ecological footprint by developing human capital.


Human capital in India Ecological footprint Bayer and Hanck cointegration test Energy consumption Neutrality hypothesis 


Funding information

The work is supported by the National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars (Reference No. 71625003), National Key Research and Development Program of China (Reference No. 2016YFA0602504), Yangtze River Distinguished Professor of MOE, and National Natural Science Foundation of China (Reference Nos. 71521002, 71573016, 71774014, 91746208, and 71403021), and by the Humanities and Social Science Fund of Ministry of Education of China (Reference No. 17YJC630145), National Social Sciences Foundation (Reference No. 17ZDA065), and China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (Reference No. 2017M620648).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Management and EconomicsBeijing Institute of TechnologyBeijingChina
  2. 2.Beijing Key Lab of Energy Economics and Environmental ManagementBeijingChina
  3. 3.Collaborative Innovation Center of Electric Vehicles in BeijingBeijingChina
  4. 4.Center for Energy and Environmental Policy ResearchBeijing Institute of TechnologyBeijingChina
  5. 5.Sustainable Development Research Institute for Economy and Society of BeijingBeijingChina

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