The Effects of ICT and Technological Innovation on Environmental Quality: Evidence from Asian Developing Countries

Document Type : Original Research


School of Economics, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, Wuhan-430073, China


ICT has been considered a crucial player in environmental quality in the present age of industrial revolution and technological advancement. This study, therefore, seeks to examine the effects of ICT on environmental quality including technological innovation in selected Asian developing countries. A panel data that spanned from 1990 to 2018 is utilized to pursue the objectives of this study by applying second-generation panel approaches. In the long run, an inverted U-shaped relationship between the ICT index and CO2 emission is found by FEM and FMOLS estimators, indicating that environmental pollution decreases after attaining a threshold level of ICT development in selected Asian developing countries. The study reveals that technological innovation has a negative and significant influence on reducing CO2 emission, leading to energy efficiency and diminishing the intensity of energy used by inventing environmentally friendly technologies. Besides, electricity consumption and economic growth have positive and significant effects on the environment however, a negative and significant effect is found in the case of trade openness. The interactive effect of ICT and economic growth decreases the level of pollution while the moderate effect of ICT and technological innovation worsens the environmental quality in sample countries. The findings reveal that the role of ICT and technological innovation in mitigating environmental degradation still needs improvement in sample countries. The use of environmentally friendly ICT products and more green technological innovation are needed to improve energy efficiency by providing more fiscal incentives and infrastructures and enforcing environmental laws and regulations in the sample countries.


Main Subjects

©2022 The author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, as long as the original authors and source are cited. No permission is required from the authors or the publishers.

Alam, Md Samsul, Miah, Mohammad Dulal, Hammoudeh, Shawkat, & Tiwari, Aviral Kumar. (2018). The nexus between access to electricity and labour productivity in developing countries. Energy policy, 122, 715-726.
Amri, Fethi. (2018). Carbon dioxide emissions, total factor productivity, ICT, trade, financial development, and energy consumption: testing environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis for Tunisia. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 25(33), 33691-33701.
Arshad, Zeeshan, Robaina, Margarita, & Botelho, Anabela. (2020). The role of ICT in energy consumption and environment: an empirical investigation of Asian economies with cluster analysis. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 27(26), 32913-32932.
Asongu, Simplice A, Le Roux, Sara, & Biekpe, Nicholas. (2018). Enhancing ICT for environmental sustainability in sub-Saharan Africa. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 127, 209-216.
Atasoy, B. S. (2017). Testing the environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis across the U.S.: Evidence from panel mean group estimators. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 77(sep.), 731-747.
Avom, Désiré, Nkengfack, Hilaire, Fotio, Hervé Kaffo, & Totouom, Armand. (2020). ICT and environmental quality in Sub-Saharan Africa: Effects and transmission channels. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 155, 120028.
Baltagi, Badi H., Feng, Qu, & Kao, Chihwa. (2012). A Lagrange Multiplier test for cross-sectional dependence in a fixed effects panel data model. Journal of Econometrics, 170(1), 164-177. doi:
Bao, C., & Xu, M. (2019). Cause and effect of renewable energy consumption on urbanization and economic growth in China's provinces and regions. Journal of Cleaner Production, 231, 483-493.
Bhattacharya, Mita, Awaworyi Churchill, Sefa, & Paramati, Sudharshan Reddy. (2017). The dynamic impact of renewable energy and institutions on economic output and CO2 emissions across regions. Renewable Energy, 111, 157-167. doi:
Cheng, Cheng, Ren, Xiaohang, & Wang, Zhen. (2019). The impact of renewable energy and innovation on carbon emission: An empirical analysis for OECD countries. Energy Procedia, 158, 3506-3512.
Churchill, Sefa Awaworyi, Inekwe, John, Smyth, Russell, & Zhang, Xibin. (2019). R&D intensity and carbon emissions in the G7: 1870–2014. Energy Economics, 80, 30-37.
Danish. (2019). Effects of information and communication technology and real income on CO2 emissions: The experience of countries along Belt and Road. Telematics and Informatics, 45.
Danish, Khan, Noheed, Baloch, Muhammad Awais, Saud, Shah, & Fatima, Tehreem. (2018). The effect of ICT on CO 2 emissions in emerging economies: does the level of income matters? Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 25(23), 22850-22860.
Dauda, Lamini, Long, Xingle, Mensah, Claudia Nyarko, & Salman, Muhammad. (2019). The effects of economic growth and innovation on CO 2 emissions in different regions. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 26(15), 15028-15038.
Demir, Caner, Cergibozan, Raif, & Ari, Ali. (2020). Environmental dimension of innovation: time series evidence from Turkey. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 22(3), 2497-2516.
Dinda, S. (2004). Environmental Kuznets Curve Hypothesis: A Survey. Ecological Economics, 49(4), 431-455.
Dogan, E., & Seker, F. (2016). Determinants of CO2 emissions in the European Union: The role of renewable and non-renewable energy. Renewable Energy, 94(aug.), 429-439.
Ellabban, Omar, Abu-Rub, Haitham, & Blaabjerg, Frede. (2014). Renewable energy resources: Current status, future prospects and their enabling technology. Renewable and sustainable energy reviews, 39, 748-764.
Faisal, Faisal, Tursoy, Turgut, & Pervaiz, Ruqiya. (2020). Does ICT lessen CO 2 emissions for fast-emerging economies? An application of the heterogeneous panel estimations. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 1-12.
Fernández, Y Fernández, López, MA Fernández, & Blanco, B Olmedillas. (2018). Innovation for sustainability: the impact of R&D spending on CO2 emissions. Journal of cleaner production, 172, 3459-3467.
Forti, Vanessa, Balde, Cornelis P, Kuehr, Ruediger, & Bel, Garam. (2020). The Global E-waste Monitor 2020: Quantities, flows and the circular economy potential.
Ganda, Fortune. (2019). The impact of innovation and technology investments on carbon emissions in selected organisation for economic Co-operation and development countries. Journal of cleaner production, 217, 469-483.
Grossman, Gene M, & Krueger, Alan B. (1991). Environmental impacts of a North American free trade agreement: National Bureau of economic research Cambridge, Mass., USA.
Gujarati, Damodar N. (2004). Basic of Econometric, Fourth Edition.
Haseeb, Abdul, Xia, Enjun, Saud, Shah, Ahmad, Ashfaq, & Khurshid, Hamid. (2019). Does information and communication technologies improve environmental quality in the era of globalization? An empirical analysis. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 26(9), 8594-8608.
Hashmi, Rubayyat, & Alam, Khorshed. (2019). Dynamic relationship among environmental regulation, innovation, CO2 emissions, population, and economic growth in OECD countries: A panel investigation. Journal of cleaner production, 231, 1100-1109.
Hausman, J. (1978). Specification Tests in Econometrics. Econometrica.
Higón, Dolores Añón, Gholami, Roya, & Shirazi, Farid. (2017). ICT and environmental sustainability: A global perspective. Telematics and Informatics, 34(4), 85-95.
Huang, Junbing, Luan, Bingjiang, Cai, Xiaochen, & Zou, Hong. (2020). The role of domestic R&D activities played in carbon intensity: evidence from China. Science of the Total Environment, 708, 135033.
Ibrahiem, Dalia M. (2020). Do technological innovations and financial development improve environmental quality in Egypt? Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 27(10), 10869-10881.
Kahouli, Bassem. (2018). The causality link between energy electricity consumption, CO2 emissions, R&D stocks and economic growth in Mediterranean countries (MCs). Energy, 145, 388-399.
Khan, Farzana Naheed, Sana, Aiman, & Arif, Umaima. (2020). Information and communication technology (ICT) and environmental sustainability: a panel data analysis. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 27(29), 36718-36731.
Liu, Xianbing, Tanaka, Masaru, & Matsui, Yasuhiro. (2006). Electrical and electronic waste management in China: progress and the barriers to overcome. Waste Management & Research, 24(1), 92-101.
Lu, Wen-Cheng. (2018). The impacts of information and communication technology, energy consumption, financial development, and economic growth on carbon dioxide emissions in 12 Asian countries. Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 23(8), 1351-1365.
Majeed, Muhammad Tariq. (2018). Information and communication technology (ICT) and environmental sustainability in developed and developing countries. Pakistan Journal of Commerce and Social Sciences, 12(3), 758-783.
Ockwell, David G, Haum, Ruediger, Mallett, Alexandra, & Watson, Jim. (2010). Intellectual property rights and low carbon technology transfer: Conflicting discourses of diffusion and development. Global Environmental Change, 20(4), 729-738.
Omri, Anis, & Hadj, Tarek Bel. (2020). Foreign investment and air pollution: do good governance and technological innovation matter? Environmental research, 185, 109469.
Park, Yongmoon, Meng, Fanchen, & Baloch, Muhammad Awais. (2018). The effect of ICT, financial development, growth, and trade openness on CO 2 emissions: an empirical analysis. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 25(30), 30708-30719.
Pedroni, P. (2001). Purchasing power parity tests in cointegrated panels. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 83.
Pesaran, M Hashem. (2007). A simple panel unit root test in the presence of cross‐section dependence. Journal of applied econometrics, 22(2), 265-312.
Pesaran, M Hashem, Ullah, Aman, & Yamagata, Takashi. (2008). A bias‐adjusted LM test of error cross‐section independence. The Econometrics Journal, 11(1), 105-127.
Pesaran, M Hashem, & Yamagata, Takashi. (2008). Testing slope homogeneity in large panels. Journal of econometrics, 142(1), 50-93.
Pesaran, M. H. (2004). General Diagnostic Tests for Cross Section Dependence in Panels. CESifo Working Paper Series.
Raheem, Ibrahim D, Tiwari, Aviral Kumar, & Balsalobre-Lorente, Daniel. (2020). The role of ICT and financial development in CO 2 emissions and economic growth. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 27(2), 1912-1922.
Raiser, K., Naims, H., & Bruhn, T. (2017). Corporatization of the climate? Innovation, intellectual property rights, and patents for climate change mitigation. Energy Research & Social Science, 27, 1-8.
Ritchie, Hannah, & Roser, Max. (2020). CO₂ and greenhouse gas emissions. Our world in data.
Salahuddin, Mohammad, Alam, Khorshed, Ozturk, Ilhan, & Sohag, Kazi. (2018). The effects of electricity consumption, economic growth, financial development and foreign direct investment on CO2 emissions in Kuwait. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 81, 2002-2010.
Sinha, Avik, Sengupta, Tuhin, & Alvarado, Rafael. (2020). Interplay between technological innovation and environmental quality: formulating the SDG policies for next 11 economies. Journal of Cleaner Production, 242, 118549.
Sohag, Kazi, Al Mamun, Md, Uddin, Gazi Salah, & Ahmed, Ali M. (2017). Sectoral output, energy use, and CO 2 emission in middle-income countries. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 24(10), 9754-9764.
Sohag, Kazi, Begum, Rawshan Ara, & Abdullah, Sharifah Mastura Syed. (2015). Dynamic impact of household consumption on its CO2 emissions in Malaysia. Environment Development & Sustainability, 17(5), 1031-1043.
Suri, V., & Chapman, D. (1998). Economic growth, trade and energy: implications for the environmental Kuznets curve. Ecological Economics, 25.
Tsaurai, Kunofiwa, & Chimbo, Bester. (2019). The Impact of Information and Communication Technology on Carbon Emissions in Emerging Markets. International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy, 9(4), 320-326.
Usman, Muhammad, & Hammar, Nesrine. (2021). Dynamic relationship between technological innovations, financial development, renewable energy, and ecological footprint: fresh insights based on the STIRPAT model for Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation countries. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 28(12), 15519-15536.
Westerlund, Joakim. (2007). Testing for Error Correction in Panel Data*. Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 69(6), 709-748. doi:
Widmer, Rolf, Oswald-Krapf, Heidi, Sinha-Khetriwal, Deepali, Schnellmann, Max, & Böni, Heinz. (2005). Global perspectives on e-waste. Environmental impact assessment review, 25(5), 436-458.
Youssef, Slim Ben. (2020). Non-resident and resident patents, renewable and fossil energy, pollution, and economic growth in the USA. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 27(32), 40795-40810.
Zhang, Jianwu, Wang, Bo, & Latif, Zahid. (2019). Towards cross‐regional sustainable development: The nexus between information and communication technology, energy consumption, and CO 2 emissions. Sustainable Development, 27(5), 990-1000.