Resources Science ›› 2020, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (4): 593-606.doi: 10.18402/resci.2020.04.01

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Research progress and implication of the relationship between regional economic growth and resource-environmental pressure

PENG Hongsong1, GUO Lijia1, ZHANG Jinhe2, ZHONG Shien1(), YU Hu3, HAN Ya4   

  1. 1. School of Business Administration, Nanjing University of Finance and Economics, Nanjing 210046, China
    2. School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
    3. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    4. School of Hongshan, Nanjing University of Finance and Economics, Nanjing 212413, China
  • Received:2019-07-03 Revised:2019-10-21 Online:2020-04-25 Published:2020-06-25
  • Contact: ZHONG Shien


The relationship between economic growth and resource-environmental pressure is an important research area for regional sustainable development. However, few studies have systematically summarized relevant research results within different theoretical contexts, and few have compared the pros and cons of different theories, methods, models, indicators, and evaluation systems. Therefore, it is difficult to determine their theoretical contributions. This article reviewed five kinds of theoretical models and empirical studies in this field. It also compared their theoretical connotations, methods, evaluation systems, and applicability. In addition, this article proposed the basic framework and key content of analysis on the relationship between regional economic growth and resource-environmental pressures. We aimed to provide some theoretical reference and technical support for advancing related research. The results show that: (1) The theories, methods, and indicators of this field have different advantages, disadvantages, and application scope. Relevant research should be carried out under the basic framework of testing the direction of causality → identifying the EKC turning point/decoupling state → assessing the eco-efficiency intensity → determining the coupling coordination phase. Regional sustainable development policies should be developed based on the idea of “direction regulation → turning point/state regulation → intensity regulation → system regulation.” (2) We should focus on method, model, and evaluation system optimization. Studies on discovering driving factors, mechanisms, and path selection should be emphasized. Furthermore, it is necessary to implement research on multi-case comparison, remote coupling, and theoretical association in the future.

Key words: economic growth, resource-environmental pressure, Granger causality, Environmental Kuznets Curve, decoupling, eco-efficiency, coupling coordination, research progress