The impact of urbanization on CO2 emissions: Evidence from developing countries
This paper analyzes the impact of urbanization on CO2 emissions in developing countries from 1975 to 2003. It contributes to the existing literature by examining the effect of urbanization, taking into account dynamics and the presence of heterogeneity in the sample of countries. The results show an inverted-U shaped relationship between urbanization and CO2 emissions. Indeed, the elasticity emission-urbanization is positive for low urbanization levels, which is in accordance with the higher environmental impact observed in less developed regions. Among our contributions is the estimation of a semi-parametric mixture model that allows for unknown distributional shapes and endogenously classifies countries into homogeneous groups. Three groups of countries are identified for which urbanization's impact differs considerably. For two of the groups, a threshold level is identified beyond which the emission-urbanization elasticity is negative and further increases in the urbanization rate do not contribute to higher emissions. However, for the third group only population and affluence, but not urbanization, contribute to explain emissions. The differential impact of urbanization on CO2 emissions should therefore be taken into account in future discussions of climate change policies.
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