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CO 2 Emissions and Income Dynamics: What Does the Global Evidence Tell Us?

  • Thomas Bassetti


  • Nikos Benos


  • Stelios Karagiannis


This paper analyzes the co-evolution of two major determinants of social welfare, namely, income and carbon emissions. In particular, by using a distribution dynamics approach based on Markov chains, we investigate the shape and behavior of the joint distribution of per-capita income and carbon dioxide emissions. We arrive at several interesting conclusions, especially in the context of international negotiations on climate change. First, evidence does not support theoretical models predicting the existence of a poverty-environment trap. Specifically, in the long-run two main groups of countries will emerge: poor versus polluting countries. Second, the typical development path leads initially to high emission levels and, subsequently, to high income. Third, the convergence process towards the stationary distribution is very slow. Finally, for carbon emissions, whenever it is observed, the environmental Kuznets curve seems to be only a transitory phenomenon. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2013

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Article provided by Springer & European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in its journal Environmental and Resource Economics.

Volume (Year): 54 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 101-125

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Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:54:y:2013:i:1:p:101-125
DOI: 10.1007/s10640-012-9583-1
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