Several studies provide evidence that social, economic, political, and conservation-related factors impact cross-national biodiversity loss. One theoretical argument concerning biodiversity loss that has not been directly assessed involves the relationship between species loss and neoliberalism. Generally, neoliberalism promotes free markets. This has become a dominant philosophy across nations (though the strength of neoliberalism varies cross-nationally) and affects how nations interact with one another as resource users and providers. Given how neoliberal policies work to integrate nations into a single global capitalist economy, we assess neoliberalism’s effects on threatened species alongside a nation’s position in the global world-system. The current study examines nine sets of negative binomial regression models analyzing the effect of neoliberalism, world-system position, and a set of control variables on species biodiversity loss across a sample of 104 countries for which all relevant data were available. We find some support that neoliberalism increases biodiversity loss in fully assessed species (birds and amphibians). We also find support for the hypothesis that there is more biodiversity loss in the periphery and semi-periphery of the world-system (compared with core countries) in fully assessed threatened species. We argue that the results support previous research showing the sociological drivers of biodiversity loss.

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