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Income inequality and carbon emissions


  • Nicole Grunewald

    (Georg-August-University Göttingen)

  • Stephan Klasen

    (Georg-August-University Göttingen)

  • Inmaculada Martínez-Zarzoso

    (Georg-August-University Göttingen)

  • Chris Muris

    (Georg-August-University Göttingen)


We document a U-shaped relationship between income inequality and carbon dioxide emissions per capita, using a newly available panel data set on income inequality (GINI) with observations for 138 countries over the period 1960–2008. Our findings suggest that, for high-income countries with high income inequality, pro-poor growth and reduced per capita emissions levels go hand in hand.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicole Grunewald & Stephan Klasen & Inmaculada Martínez-Zarzoso & Chris Muris, 2011. "Income inequality and carbon emissions," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 92, Courant Research Centre PEG.
  • Handle: RePEc:got:gotcrc:092

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    Cited by:

    1. Asongu, Simplice A & Odhiambo, Nicholas M, 2020. "Inequality and Renewable Energy Consumption in Sub-Saharan Africa: Implication for High Income Countries," Working Papers 26932, University of South Africa, Department of Economics.
    2. Goodness C. Aye, 2020. "Wealth inequality and CO2 emissions in emerging economies: The case of BRICS," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2020-161, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. Dmitry Burakov & Alexander Bass, 2019. "Institutional determinants of environmental pollution in Russia: a non-linear ARDL approach," Entrepreneurship and Sustainability Issues, VsI Entrepreneurship and Sustainability Center, vol. 7(1), pages 510-524, September.
    4. Asongu, Simplice & Odhiambo, Nicholas, 2020. "The Green Economy and Inequality in Sub-Saharan Africa: Avoidable Thresholds and Thresholds for Complementary Policies," MPRA Paper 107542, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Yongming Wang & Irfan Uddin & Yingmei Gong, 2021. "Nexus between Natural Resources and Environmental Degradation: Analysing the Role of Income Inequality and Renewable Energy," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(15), pages 1-20, July.
    6. Lesly Cassin & Paolo Melindi-Ghidi & Fabien Prieur, 2021. "The impact of income inequality on public environmental expenditure with green consumerism," Working Papers 2021.08, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.
    7. Dorn, Franziska & Maxand, Simone & Kneib, Thomas, 2021. "The dependence between income inequality and carbon emissions: A distributional copula analysis," University of Göttingen Working Papers in Economics 413, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    8. Marta Gómez-Puig & Simón Sosvilla-Rivero & Inmaculada Martínez-Zarzoso, 2019. "Re-examining the debt-growth nexus: A grouped fixed-effect approach," Documentos de Trabajo del ICAE 2019-21, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Instituto Complutense de Análisis Económico.
    9. Syed Tauseef Hassan & Enjun Xia & Chien-Chiang Lee, 2021. "Mitigation pathways impact of climate change and improving sustainable development: The roles of natural resources, income, and CO2 emission," Energy & Environment, , vol. 32(2), pages 338-363, March.
    10. Lesly Cassin & Paolo Melindi-Ghidi & Fabien Prieur, 2021. "Voting for environmental policy with green consumers: the impact of income inequality," CEE-M Working Papers hal-03146526, CEE-M, Universtiy of Montpellier, CNRS, INRA, Montpellier SupAgro.

    More about this item


    environmental quality; income inequality; panel data;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation

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