Andrew K. Jorgenson

Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies, Boston College
Areas of Expertise:
  • International Development
  • Climate Change
  • Environment
  • Health Care Reform

About Andrew

Jorgenson conducts research on the human dimensions of global and regional environmental change, with a focus on the economic, political, and demographic causes of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, ground-level air pollution, deforestation, and other environmental outcomes. He also researches the causes of public health problems in developing nations, including infant and under-five mortality rates.



"Economic Development and the Carbon Intensity of Human Well-Being" Nature Climate Change 4 (2014): 186-189.
Examines how the effect of economic development on carbon intensity of human well-being has changed since 1970 for 106 countries in multiple regional samples throughout the world. Although future economic growth will probably improve human well-being generally, this research suggests that it will also cost an increasing amount of carbon emissions.
"Globalization, Foreign Investment Dependence, and Agriculture Production: A Cross-National Study of Pesticide and Fertilizer Use Intensity in Less-Developed Countries, 1990-2000" (with Kennon A. Kuykendall). Social Forces 87, no. 1 (2008): 529-560.
Finds that pesticide and fertilizer use intensity in less-developed countries are both positively associated with foreign investment dependence in the agricultural sector, which contributes to a variety of human health and environmental problems.
"The Economy, Military, and Ecologically Unequal Relationships in Comparative Perspective: A Panel Study of the Ecological Footprints of Nations, 1975-2000" (with Brett Clark). Social Problems 56, no. 4 (November 2009): 621-646.
Examines the structural predictors of the per capita ecological footprints of nations, ultimately suggesting that a political economy framework that considers domestic attributes and structural relationships in particular contexts is quite useful for understanding nations’ consumption-based environmental harms.
"Assessing the Causes of Anthropogenic Methane Emissions in Comparative Perspective, 1990-2005" (with Ryan Birkholz). Ecological Economics 69, no. 12 (2010): 2634-2643.
Shows that population size, economic development, the production of cereals, cattle, natural gas and oil, and a reliance on food exports all contribute to methane emissions – a known contributor to climate change – from 1990 to 2005.
"The Sociology of Ecologically Unequal Exchange and Carbon Dioxide Emissions, 1960-2005" Social Science Research 41, no. 2 (2012): 242-252.
Engages the sociological theory of ecologically unequal exchange to assess the extent to which levels of per capita anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions are a function of the "vertical flow" of exports to high-income nations. Finds that levels of such emissions are positively associated with the vertical flow of exports, and the relationship is much more pronounced (and increasingly so through time) for lower-income countries than for high-income countries.
"Assessing the Temporal and Regional Differences in the Relationships between Infant and Child Mortality and Urban Slum Prevalence in Less-Developed Countries, 1990-2005" (with James Rice and Brett Clark). Urban Studies 49 (2012): 3495-3512.
Assesses the extent to which infant and child mortality rates in less developed countries are impacted by the percentage of domestic populations living in urban slum conditions; finds that growth in the percentage of populations living in these conditions positively affects both forms of mortality rates, with the relationship being strongest and increasingly so for nations in Africa relative to nations in Asia and Latin America.
"Are the Economy and the Environment Decoupling? A Comparative International Study, 1960-2005" (with Brett Clark). American Journal of Sociology 118, no. 1 (July 2012): 1-44.
Compares ecological modernization theory, which posits that environmental degradation will decrease over time as economic development increases, with treadmill of production theory, which argues that both will increase apace. Statistical analyses of national-level carbon emissions provide mixed and unbalanced support for both theories.

In the News

Andrew K. Jorgenson quoted on Trump's climate policy in Zahra Hirji, "Trump's Choices 'Detrimental to the Planet and People,' Environmental Sociologists Say" Inside Climate News, February 3, 2017.
Andrew K. Jorgenson's research on the relationship between economic development and sustainable fuel practices discussed in Richard York. Andrew K. Jorgenson, "Development and Well-Being Still Rely on Burning Fossil Fuels," The Conversation, February 25, 2014.
"BYU and University of Utah Professors Wanted Legislature to Listen to Them on Climate Change," Andrew K. Jorgenson, Interview with Sara Israelsen-Hartley, Deseret News, March 15, 2010.
"Is High Heat the New Normal?," Andrew K. Jorgenson, Interview with Tom Ashbrook, NPR’s On Point, July 22, 2011.