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Fifty shades of green: Revisiting decoupling by economic sectors and air pollutants

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  • Naqvi, Asjad
  • Zwickl, Klara

Abstract

Using a consistent dataset for eighteen EU countries, six economic sectors, and six pollution indicators, we analyze decoupling of production–based emissions from GDP growth from 1995 to 2008. Computing decoupling factors as defined by the OECD (2002), we find that in almost all sectors and by almost all pollutants the median EU country had at least some decoupling. However, considerable heterogeneity in its magnitude can be observed across countries, sectors, and pollutants. For most pollutants and sectors, median decoupling performance improved from 2001–2008 compared to 1995–2001, while between–country disparities increased simultaneously. In a second step, we investigate country–level changes in decoupling states between the two sub–periods based on Tapio (2005). We find high diversity across countries and over time. To explain these differences across countries and sectors, we assess the impact of environmental policy stringency, and find tentative evidence that stricter policy encourages decoupling, however the effects are small and imprecise, differ by economic sector and pollutant, and take several years to materialize.

Suggested Citation

  • Naqvi, Asjad & Zwickl, Klara, 2017. "Fifty shades of green: Revisiting decoupling by economic sectors and air pollutants," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 111-126.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:133:y:2017:i:c:p:111-126
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2016.09.017
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Claire Brunel & Arik Levinson, 2013. "Measuring Environmental Regulatory Stringency," Working Papers gueconwpa~13-13-02, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
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    5. Tapio, Petri, 2005. "Towards a theory of decoupling: degrees of decoupling in the EU and the case of road traffic in Finland between 1970 and 2001," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 137-151, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Orset, Caroline, 2019. "How Do Travellers Respond to Health and Environmental Policies to Reduce Air Pollution?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 156(C), pages 68-82.
    2. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:7:p:1092-:d:102344 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:spr:endesu:v:20:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10668-018-0238-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Jeyhun I. Mikayilov & Fakhri J. Hasanov & Marzio Galeotti, 2018. "Decoupling of C02 Emissions and GDP: A Time-Varying Cointegration Approach," IEFE Working Papers 101, IEFE, Center for Research on Energy and Environmental Economics and Policy, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy.
    5. Marwil J. Dávila-Fernández & Serena Sordi, 2018. "Attitudes Toward Climate Policies in a Macrodynamic Model of the Economy," Department of Economics University of Siena 784, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    6. repec:eee:enepol:v:116:y:2018:i:c:p:30-38 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Energy efficiency; Decoupling indicators; Environmental policy stringency;

    JEL classification:

    • O44 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Environment and Growth
    • Q4 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics

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