IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Hold Your Breath: A New Index of Air Quality


  • Mohammad Reza Farzanegan

    () (University of Marburg)

  • Andreas Buehn

    () (University of Utrecht)


Environmental quality and climate change have long attracted attention in policy debates. Recently, air quality has emerged on the policy agenda. We calculate a new index of air quality using CO2 and SO2 emissions per capita as indicators and provide a ranking for 122 countries from 1985 to 2005. The empirical analysis supports the EKC hypothesis and shows a significant influence of determinants such as energy efficiency, industrial production, electricity produced from coal sources, and urbanization on air quality. According to our index, Luxemburg, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Japan are among the top 5 countries in terms of air quality performance. The Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Togo, and Nepal performed worst in 2005.

Suggested Citation

  • Mohammad Reza Farzanegan & Andreas Buehn, 2012. "Hold Your Breath: A New Index of Air Quality," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201226, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  • Handle: RePEc:mar:magkse:201226

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2012
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dreher, Axel & Kotsogiannis, Christos & McCorriston, Steve, 2007. "Corruption around the world: Evidence from a structural model," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 443-466, September.
    2. Farzanegan, Mohammad Reza, 2009. "Illegal trade in the Iranian economy: Evidence from a structural model," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 489-507, December.
    3. Beckerman, Wilfred, 1992. "Economic growth and the environment: Whose growth? whose environment?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 481-496, April.
    4. Chang, Chingfu & Lee, Alice C. & Lee, Cheng F., 2009. "Determinants of capital structure choice: A structural equation modeling approach," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 197-213, May.
    5. William T. Harbaugh & Arik Levinson & David Molloy Wilson, 2002. "Reexamining The Empirical Evidence For An Environmental Kuznets Curve," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 541-551, August.
    6. Andreas Buehn & Mohammad Reza Farzanegan, 2012. "Smuggling around the world: evidence from a structural equation model," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(23), pages 3047-3064, August.
    7. Stern, David I., 2004. "The Rise and Fall of the Environmental Kuznets Curve," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(8), pages 1419-1439, August.
    8. Schneider, Friedrich, 2005. "Shadow economies around the world: what do we really know?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 598-642, September.
    9. Andreas Buehn & Stefan Eichler, 2009. "Smuggling Illegal versus Legal Goods across the U.S.-Mexico Border: A Structural Equations Model Approach," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 328-350, October.
    10. Selden Thomas M. & Song Daqing, 1994. "Environmental Quality and Development: Is There a Kuznets Curve for Air Pollution Emissions?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 147-162, September.
    11. William Brock & M. Taylor, 2010. "The Green Solow model," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 127-153, June.
    12. Panayotou, Theodore, 1997. "Demystifying the environmental Kuznets curve: turning a black box into a policy tool," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(04), pages 465-484, November.
    13. Gene M. Grossman & Alan B. Krueger, 1995. "Economic Growth and the Environment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(2), pages 353-377.
    14. Cole, Matthew A., 2004. "Trade, the pollution haven hypothesis and the environmental Kuznets curve: examining the linkages," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 71-81, January.
    15. Susmita Dasgupta & Benoit Laplante & Hua Wang & David Wheeler, 2002. "Confronting the Environmental Kuznets Curve," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(1), pages 147-168, Winter.
    16. Matthew A. Cole & Eric Neumayer, 2003. "Examining the Impact of Demographic Factors On Air Pollution," Labor and Demography 0312005, EconWPA, revised 13 May 2004.
    17. Torras, Mariano & Boyce, James K., 1998. "Income, inequality, and pollution: a reassessment of the environmental Kuznets Curve," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 147-160, May.
    18. Smulders, J.A. & Bretschger, L., 2000. "Explaining Environmental Kuznets Curves : How Pollution Induces Policy and New Technologies," Discussion Paper 2000-95, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    19. Rivera-Batiz, Francisco L, 2002. "Democracy, Governance, and Economic Growth: Theory and Evidence," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(2), pages 225-247, June.
    20. Neumayer, Eric, 2003. "Are left-wing party strength and corporatism good for the environment? Evidence from panel analysis of air pollution in OECD countries," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 203-220, June.
    21. Martin Jänicke & Manfred Binder & Harald Mönch, 1997. "‘Dirty industries’: Patterns of change in industrial countries," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 9(4), pages 467-491, June.
    22. Kelly, David L., 2003. "On environmental Kuznets curves arising from stock externalities," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(8), pages 1367-1390, June.
    23. Dinda, Soumyananda, 2004. "Environmental Kuznets Curve Hypothesis: A Survey," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 431-455, August.
    24. Andreas Buehn & Alexander Karmann & Friedrich Schneider, 2009. "Shadow Economy and Do-it-Yourself Activities: The German Case," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 165(4), pages 701-722, December.
    25. Barrett, Scott & Graddy, Kathryn, 2000. "Freedom, growth, and the environment," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(04), pages 433-456, October.
    26. Hilton, F. G. Hank & Levinson, Arik, 1998. "Factoring the Environmental Kuznets Curve: Evidence from Automotive Lead Emissions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 126-141, March.
    27. Farzin, Y. Hossein & Bond, Craig A., 2006. "Democracy and environmental quality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 213-235, October.
    28. Raghbendra Jha & K.V. Bhanu Murthy, 2003. "A Critique of the Environmental Sustainability Index," Departmental Working Papers 2003-08, The Australian National University, Arndt-Corden Department of Economics.
    29. Christoph Lieb, 2004. "The Environmental Kuznets Curve and Flow versus Stock Pollution: The Neglect of Future Damages," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 29(4), pages 483-506, December.
    30. Dinda, Soumyananda, 2005. "A theoretical basis for the environmental Kuznets curve," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 403-413, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Air quality; MIMIC model; EKC hypothesis; Development; Emissions;

    JEL classification:

    • O56 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Oceania
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:mar:magkse:201226. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bernd Hayo) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.