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Environmental Kuznets Curves for Carbon Emissions: A Critical Survey


  • Nektarios Aslanidis

    (University Rovira Virgili)


The empirical finding of an inverse U-shaped relationship between per capita income and pollution, the so-called Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC), suggests that as countries experience economic growth, environmental deterioration decelerates and thus becomes less of an issue. Focusing on the prime example of carbon emissions, the present article provides a critical review of the new econometric techniques that have questioned the baseline polynomial specification in the EKC literature. We discuss issues related to the functional form, heterogeneity, “spurious” regressions and spatial dependence to address whether and to what extent the EKC can be observed. Despite these new approaches, there is still no clear-cut evidence supporting the existence of the EKC for carbon emissions.

Suggested Citation

  • Nektarios Aslanidis, 2009. "Environmental Kuznets Curves for Carbon Emissions: A Critical Survey," Working Papers 2009.75, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2009.75

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    Cited by:

    1. Menyah, Kojo & Wolde-Rufael, Yemane, 2010. "Energy consumption, pollutant emissions and economic growth in South Africa," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1374-1382, November.
    2. Giovanni Bella & Carla Massidda & Ivan Etzo, 2013. "A Panel Estimation of the Relationship between Income, Electric Power Consumption and CO2 Emissions," Applied Economics Quarterly (formerly: Konjunkturpolitik), Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 59(2), pages 149-166.
    3. Duarte, Rosa & Pinilla, Vicente & Serrano, Ana, 2013. "Is there an environmental Kuznets curve for water use? A panel smooth transition regression approach," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 518-527.
    4. Chirok Han & Hyelim Lee, 2013. "Dependence Of Economic Growth On Co2 Emissions," Journal of Economic Development, Chung-Ang Unviersity, Department of Economics, vol. 38(1), pages 47-57, March.
    5. Verchère, Alban, 2011. "Le développement durable en question : analyses économiques autour d’un improbable compromis entre acceptions optimiste et pessimiste du rapport de l’Homme à la Nature," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 87(3), pages 337-403, septembre.
    6. Sheldon, Tamara L., 2017. "Asymmetric effects of the business cycle on carbon dioxide emissions," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 289-297.
    7. Itkonen, Juha V.A., 2012. "Problems estimating the carbon Kuznets curve," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 274-280.
    8. Halicioglu, Ferda & Ketenci, Natalya, 2016. "The impact of international trade on environmental quality: The case of transition countries," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 1130-1138.
    9. repec:eee:rensus:v:81:y:2018:i:p2:p:1636-1642 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Abid Rashid Gill & Kuperan K. Viswanathan & Sallahuddin Hassan, 2017. "Is Environmental Kuznets Curve Still Relevant?," International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy, Econjournals, vol. 7(1), pages 156-165.
    11. Pablo-Romero, María del P. & De Jesús, Josué, 2016. "Economic growth and energy consumption: The Energy-Environmental Kuznets Curve for Latin America and the Caribbean," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 1343-1350.
    12. Halicioglu, Ferda & Ketenci, Natalya, 2015. "The impact of international trade on environmental quality in transition countries: evidence from time series data during 1991-2013," MPRA Paper 71097, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2015.
    13. J. Humberto Lopez & Rashmi Shankar, 2011. "Getting the Most Out of Free Trade Agreements in Central America," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2322, June.

    More about this item


    Environmental Kuznets Curve; Carbon Emissions; Functional Form; Heterogeneity; “Spurious” Regressions; Spatial Dependence;

    JEL classification:

    • C20 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - General
    • Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development
    • Q50 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - General
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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