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Open AccessArticle

An Empirical Study of the Role of Higher Education in Building a Green Economy

by Wenjuan Gao 1, Xiaohao Ding 1,2,*, Ran Chen 1 and Weifang Min 1,2,3
Graduate School of Education, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
The Institute of Educational Economics, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
National School of Development, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6823;
Received: 30 September 2019 / Revised: 24 November 2019 / Accepted: 28 November 2019 / Published: 1 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Higher Education in Innovation Ecosystem)
The relationship between higher education and economic development has long been emphasized in the research on economics and education. Much of the existing literature focuses on the gross domestic product (GDP) as a core measure of a nation’s economic accounting system, but this may neglect some negative effects of production, such as resource depletion and environmental damage. Under such circumstances, the concept of “green GDP” was conceived to consider environmental influence simultaneously with the economy. It is, however, only theoretically feasible due to the complexity in calculating environmental pollution and the unavailability of data about resource consumption. Considering the measurement problems, this paper proposes a new approach to indirectly estimate green GDP. Using this approach, we mainly explore the impact of higher education on economic growth, especially regarding the development of a green economy. Results show that (a) higher education plays a significant role in building a green economy, and (b) green GDP is more responsive to changes in higher education than the traditional GDP. This study provides empirical evidence for the substantial contribution that higher education makes in promoting green economic growth to achieve comprehensive sustainable development. View Full-Text
Keywords: higher education; green GDP; environment; sustainable development higher education; green GDP; environment; sustainable development
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Gao, W.; Ding, X.; Chen, R.; Min, W. An Empirical Study of the Role of Higher Education in Building a Green Economy. Sustainability 2019, 11, 6823.

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