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On the automatic application of inequality indexes in the analysis of the international distribution of environmental indicators


  • Duro, Juan Antonio


In recent years traditional inequality measures have been used to quite a considerable extent to examine the international distribution of environmental indicators. One of the main characteristics of these measures is that each one assigns different weights to the changes that occur in the different sections of the variable distribution and, consequently, the results they yield can potentially be very different. Hence, we suggest the appropriateness of using a range of well-recommended measures to achieve more robust results. We also provide an empirical test for the comparative behaviour of several suitable inequality measures and environmental indicators in the international context. Our findings support the hypothesis that in some cases there are differences among measures in both the sign of the evolution over time and its size.

Suggested Citation

  • Duro, Juan Antonio, 2012. "On the automatic application of inequality indexes in the analysis of the international distribution of environmental indicators," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 1-7.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:76:y:2012:i:c:p:1-7
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2011.12.019

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. White, Thomas J., 2007. "Sharing resources: The global distribution of the Ecological Footprint," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 402-410, December.
    2. Hedenus, Fredrik & Azar, Christian, 2005. "Estimates of trends in global income and resource inequalities," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 351-364, November.
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    8. Duro, Juan Antonio & Padilla, Emilio, 2008. "Analysis of the international distribution of per capita CO2 emissions using the polarization concept," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 456-466, January.
    9. Ang, B. W., 1999. "Is the energy intensity a less useful indicator than the carbon factor in the study of climate change?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(15), pages 943-946, December.
    10. Ezcurra, Roberto, 2007. "Distribution dynamics of energy intensities: A cross-country analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 5254-5259, October.
    11. Steinberger, Julia K. & Krausmann, Fridolin & Eisenmenger, Nina, 2010. "Global patterns of materials use: A socioeconomic and geophysical analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(5), pages 1148-1158, March.
    12. Duro, Juan Antonio & Padilla, Emilio, 2006. "International inequalities in per capita CO2 emissions: A decomposition methodology by Kaya factors," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 170-187, March.
    13. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
    14. Duro, Juan Antonio & Alcántara, Vicent & Padilla, Emilio, 2010. "International inequality in energy intensity levels and the role of production composition and energy efficiency: An analysis of OECD countries," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(12), pages 2468-2474, October.
    15. Mark Heil & Quentin Wodon, 2000. "Future Inequality in CO2 Emissions and the Impact of Abatement Proposals," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 17(2), pages 163-181, October.
    16. Alcantara, Vicent & Duro, Juan Antonio, 2004. "Inequality of energy intensities across OECD countries: a note," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(11), pages 1257-1260, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Juan Antonio Duro & Jordi Teixidó-Figueras & Emilio Padilla, 2014. "The causal factors of international inequality in co2 emissions per capita: a regression-based inequality decomposition analysis," Working Papers 2014/20, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    2. Mohammad Iqbal Irfany, 2015. "Inequality in emissions: Evidence from Indonesian households," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 177, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    3. repec:kap:enreec:v:67:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10640-015-9994-x is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:rensus:v:79:y:2017:i:c:p:9-14 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Duro, Juan Antonio, 2013. "Weighting vectors and international inequality changes in environmental indicators: An analysis of CO2 per capita emissions and Kaya factors," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 122-127.
    6. Juan Duro & Jordi Teixidó-Figueras & Emilio Padilla, 2016. "Empirics of the International Inequality in $$\hbox {CO}_{2}$$ CO 2 Emissions Intensity: Explanatory Factors According to Complementary Decomposition Methodologies," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 63(1), pages 57-77, January.
    7. repec:eee:enepol:v:107:y:2017:i:c:p:698-710 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Caspar Sauter & Jean-Marie Grether & Nicole A. Mathys, 2015. "Geographical Spread of Global Emissions: Within-country Inequalities Are Increasing," IRENE Working Papers 15-01, IRENE Institute of Economic Research.
    9. Juan Antonio Duro Moreno & Jordi Teixidó-Figueras & Emilio Padilla Rosa, 2013. "Empirics of the international inequality in CO2 emissions intensity: explanatory factors according to complementary decomposition methodologies," Working Papers wpdea1305, Department of Applied Economics at Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona.
    10. Grunewald, Nicole & Jakob, Michael & Mouratiadou, Ioanna, 2014. "Decomposing inequality in CO2 emissions: The role of primary energy carriers and economic sectors," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 183-194.
    11. Boyce, James K. & Zwickl, Klara & Ash, Michael, 2016. "Measuring environmental inequality," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 114-123.
    12. Duro, Juan Antonio & Teixidó-Figueras, Jordi, 2013. "Ecological footprint inequality across countries: The role of environment intensity, income and interaction effects," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 34-41.
    13. Duro Moreno, Juan Antonio, 2015. "Seasonality of hotel demand in the main Spanish provinces: measurements and decomposition exercises," Working Papers 2072/254302, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Economics.
    14. Xu, Xinkuo & Han, Liyan & Lv, Xiaofeng, 2016. "Household carbon inequality in urban China, its sources and determinants," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 77-86.
    15. repec:eee:appene:v:211:y:2018:i:c:p:875-889 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. repec:eee:touman:v:52:y:2016:i:c:p:52-63 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Sauter, Caspar & Grether, Jean-Marie & Mathys, Nicole A., 2016. "Geographical spread of global emissions: Within-country inequalities are large and increasing," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 138-149.
    18. Mussini, Mauro & Grossi, Luigi, 2015. "Decomposing changes in CO2 emission inequality over time: The roles of re-ranking and changes in per capita CO2 emission disparities," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 274-281.
    19. repec:aen:journl:ej38-4-mussini is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Adolfo Maza & José Villaverde & María Hierro, 2015. "Non- $$\hbox {CO}_2$$ CO 2 Generating Energy Shares in the World: Cross-Country Differences and Polarization," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 61(3), pages 319-343, July.
    21. Salahuddin, Mohammad & Gow, Jeff, 2014. "Economic growth, energy consumption and CO2 emissions in Gulf Cooperation Council countries," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 44-58.

    More about this item


    International environment factor distribution; Kaya factors; Inequality measures;

    JEL classification:

    • D39 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Other
    • Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth


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