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Impacts of urbanization on national residential energy use and CO2 emissions: Evidence from low-, middle- and high-income countries


  • Phetkeo Poumanyvong

    (Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation, Hiroshima University)

  • Shinji Kaneko

    (Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation, Hiroshima University)

  • Shobhakar Dhakal

    (National Institute of Environmental Studies)


Despite several previous studies, the potential differential impact of urbanization on energy consumption and CO2 emissions across stages of development has rarely been investigated. This paper attempts to fill this knowledge gap by examining the influence of urbanization on national residential energy use and emissions in low-, middle- and high-income countries. Using the Stochastic Impacts by Regression on Population, Affluence and Technology (STIRPAT) model and a sample of 88 countries for the period 1975?2005, interestingly, the results suggest that urbanization decreases residential energy use in the low-income countries, while it increases residential energy use in the high-income countries. In the middle-income countries, household energy consumption first falls and then rises with urbanization with a turning point at about 70%. Conversely, based on a sample of 80 countries over the same period, this study shows that urbanization increases residential emissions in the low- and middle-income countries, whereas the residential emissions of the high-income countries rise initially and decline subsequently with urbanization with a turning point at around 66%. These findings imply that urbanization brings with it both costs and benefits. These tradeoffs should be considered in future discussions of global energy and climate change policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Phetkeo Poumanyvong & Shinji Kaneko & Shobhakar Dhakal, 2012. "Impacts of urbanization on national residential energy use and CO2 emissions: Evidence from low-, middle- and high-income countries," IDEC DP2 Series 2-5, Hiroshima University, Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation (IDEC).
  • Handle: RePEc:hir:idecdp:2-5

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Shahbaz, Muhammad & Loganathan, Nanthakumar & Sbia, Rashid & Afza, Talat, 2015. "The effect of urbanization, affluence and trade openness on energy consumption: A time series analysis in Malaysia," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 683-693.
    2. Komal, Rabia & Abbas, Faisal, 2015. "Linking financial development, economic growth and energy consumption in Pakistan," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 211-220.
    3. repec:eee:energy:v:133:y:2017:i:c:p:242-256 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Li, Ke & Lin, Boqiang, 2015. "Impacts of urbanization and industrialization on energy consumption/CO2 emissions: Does the level of development matter?," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 1107-1122.
    5. Yan, Huijie, 2015. "Provincial energy intensity in China: The role of urbanization," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 635-650.
    6. Hu, Zongyi & Tang, Liwei, 2013. "Exploring the relation between urbanization and residential CO2 emissions in China: a PTR approach," MPRA Paper 55379, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Liddle, Brantley, 2014. "Impact of population, age structure, and urbanization on carbon emissions/energy consumption: Evidence from macro-level, cross-country analyses," MPRA Paper 61306, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Pablo-Romero, María del P. & Pozo-Barajas, Rafael & Sánchez-Braza, Antonio, 2016. "Analyzing the effects of Energy Action Plans on electricity consumption in Covenant of Mayors signatory municipalities in Andalusia," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 12-26.
    9. Hasanov, Fakhri J. & Bulut, Cihan & Suleymanov, Elchin, 2016. "Do population age groups matter in the energy use of the oil-exporting countries?," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 82-99.
    10. Ma, Ben, 2015. "Does urbanization affect energy intensities across provinces in China?Long-run elasticities estimation using dynamic panels with heterogeneous slopes," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 390-401.

    More about this item


    Urbanization; Residential energy use; Residential CO2 emissions; Development stages; STIRPAT Model;

    JEL classification:

    • R22 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Other Demand
    • Q41 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • 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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