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Exploring the environmental Kuznets hypothesis: Theoretical and econometric problems

  • Muller-Furstenberger, Georg
  • Wagner, Martin

Focussing on the prime example of CO2 emissions, we discuss several important theoretical and econometric problems that arise when studying environmental Kuznets curves (EKCs). The dominant theoretical approach is given by integrated assessment modelling, which consists of economic models that are combined with environmental impact models. We critically evaluate the aggregation, model dynamics and calibration aspects and their implications for the validity of the results. We then turn to a discussion of several important econometric problems that go almost unnoticed in the literature. The most fundamental problems relate to nonlinear transformations of nonstationary regressors and, in a nonstationary panel context, to neglected cross–sectional dependence. We discuss the implications of these two major and some minor problems that arise in the econometric analysis of Kuznets curves. Our discussion shows that EKC modelling as performed to date is subject to major drawbacks at both the theoretical and the econometric level.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

Volume (Year): 62 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3-4 (May)
Pages: 648-660

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:62:y:2007:i:3-4:p:648-660
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

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  1. Wagner, Martin, 2008. "The carbon Kuznets curve: A cloudy picture emitted by bad econometrics?," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 388-408, August.
  2. Stengos, T. & Millimet, D.L. & List, J.A., 2002. "The Environmental Kuznets Curve: Real Progress or Misspecified Models?," Working Papers 2002-13, University of Guelph, Department of Economics and Finance.
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