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The Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) theory—Part A: Concept, causes and the CO2 emissions case

  • Kaika, Dimitra
  • Zervas, Efthimios
Registered author(s):

    The main purpose of this study is to capture the main features of the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC)-concept. According to the EKC-theory, the process of economic growth is expected eventually to limit the environmental degradation created in the early stages of development. The EKC concept leads many researchers from the early 1990s to assume that each economy should focus on its growth, and any environmental problems will be eventually eliminated by the process of economic growth. Several studies attempt to test empirically the EKC-hypothesis using data on many countries and examining various types of environmental degradation, while other studies examine the underlying factors that may drive such a relationship. This article reviews the evolution of the EKC-concept and the possible causes of an EKC-pattern, like the distribution of income, the international trade (pollution haven hypothesis), structural changes, technical progress and improvements in energy efficiency, institutions and governance and consumer preferences. As CO2 emissions are a pollutant with global effects, several studies deal with the possible EKC-pattern for CO2 emissions and these studies are discussed separately. The various critiques on the EKC-concept are reviewed in the second article of this work.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Policy.

    Volume (Year): 62 (2013)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 1392-1402

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:62:y:2013:i:c:p:1392-1402
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