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How do improvements in labour productivity in the Scottish economy affect the UK position on the Environmental Kuznets Curve?

  • Nick Hanley

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Stirling)

  • Karen Turner

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Strathclyde)

The Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) hypothesis focuses on the argument that rising prosperity will eventually be accompanied by falling pollution levels as a result of one or more of three factors: (1) structural change in the economy; (2) demand for environmental quality increasing at a more-than-proportional rate; (3) technological progress. Here, we focus on the third of these. In previous work we have used single region/nation models of the Scottish and UK economies to simulate the impacts of increased labour and energy efficiency on the domestic economy’s position on the EKC, with a specific focus on CO2 emissions. There we find that, while the impacts of an increase in energy efficiency are difficult to predict, mainly due to the potential for ‘rebound’ effects, while increasing CO2 emissions, improved labour productivity is likely to move an economy along its EKC through more rapid GDP growth. However, recent developments in the EKC literature have raised the issue of whether this will still be the case if emissions are accounted for from a consumption rather than a production perspective (the ‘pollution leakage’ hypothesis) – i.e. taking account of indirect pollution generation embodied in trade flows rather than just domestic emissions generation. Here we extend our earlier single region analysis for Scotland by using an interregional CGE model of the UK economy to examine the likely impacts of an increase in Scottish labour productivity on the rest of the UK and on a national EKC through interregional labour migration and trade flows.

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Paper provided by University of Strathclyde Business School, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0915.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:str:wpaper:0915
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  1. Lucas Bretschger, 2003. "Economics of technological change and the natural environment: how effective are innovations as a remedy for resource scarcity?," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 03/27, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich, revised Jun 2004.
  2. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521266550 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Stern , David I., 1998. "Progress on the environmental Kuznets curve?," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(02), pages 173-196, May.
  4. Michelle Gilmartin & Peter McGregor & Kim Swales & Karen Turner, 2009. "The added value from adopting a CGE approach to analyse changes in environmental trade balances," Working Papers 0903, University of Strathclyde Business School, Department of Economics.
  5. Mark D. Partridge & Dan S. Rickman, 1998. "Regional Computable General Equilibrium Modeling: A Survey and Critical Appraisal," International Regional Science Review, , vol. 21(3), pages 205-248, December.
  6. Stina Hökby & Tore Söderqvist, 2003. "Elasticities of Demand and Willingness to Pay for Environmental Services in Sweden," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 26(3), pages 361-383, November.
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