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Cross-country polarisation in CO2 emissions per capita in the European Union: changes and explanatory factors

  • Juan Antonio Duro


    (Department of Economics and CREIP, Univ. Rovira i Virgili)

  • Emilio Padilla


    (Department of Applied Economics, Univ. Autónoma de Barcelona)

In this study, we analyse the degree of polarisation—a concept fundamentally different from that of inequality—in the international distribution of CO2 emissions per capita in the European Union. It is analytically relevant to examine the degree of instability inherent to a distribution and, in the analysed case, the likelihood that the distribution and its evolution will increase or decrease the chances of reaching an agreement. Two approaches were used to measure polarisation: the endogenous approach, in which countries are grouped according to their similarity in terms of emissions, and the exogenous approach, in which countries are grouped geographically. Our findings indicate a clear decrease in polarisation since the mid-1990s, which can essentially be explained by the fact that the different groups of countries have converged (i.e. antagonism among the CO2 emitters has decreased) as the contribution of energy intensity to between-group differences has decreased. This lower degree of polarisation in CO2 distribution suggests a situation more conducive to the possibility of reaching EU-wide agreements on the mitigation of CO2 emissions.

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Paper provided by Department of Applied Economics at Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona in its series Working Papers with number wpdea1106.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: May 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uab:wprdea:wpdea1106
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  1. Antonio Duro, Juan, 2010. "Decomposing international polarization of per capita CO2 emissions," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 6529-6533, November.
  2. Padilla, Emilio & Duro, Juan Antonio, 2013. "Explanatory factors of CO2 per capita emission inequality in the European Union," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 1320-1328.
  3. Joan-Maria Esteban & Debraj Ray, 1991. "On the Measurement of Polarization," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 18, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  4. Wolfson, Michael C, 1994. "When Inequalities Diverge," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 353-58, May.
  5. Quah, Danny T, 1997. " Empirics for Growth and Distribution: Stratification, Polarization, and Convergence Clubs," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 27-59, March.
  6. Ezcurra, Roberto, 2007. "Is there cross-country convergence in carbon dioxide emissions?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 1363-1372, February.
  7. Shorrocks, Anthony F, 1984. "Inequality Decomposition by Population Subgroups," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(6), pages 1369-85, November.
  8. Duro, Juan Antonio, 2005. "Another look to income polarization across countries," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 27(9), pages 1001-1007, December.
  9. Joan Esteban & Carlos Gradín & Debraj Ray, 2007. "An Extension of a Measure of Polarization, with an application to the income distribution of five OECD countries," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 1-19, April.
  10. Duro, Juan Antonio & Padilla, Emilio, 2008. "Analysis of the international distribution of per capita CO2 emissions using the polarization concept," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 456-466, January.
  11. Wolfson, Michael C, 1997. "Divergent Inequalities: Theory and Empirical Results," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 43(4), pages 401-21, December.
  12. Shorrocks, A F, 1980. "The Class of Additively Decomposable Inequality Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(3), pages 613-25, April.
  13. Bianchi, Marco, 1997. "Testing for Convergence: Evidence from Non-parametric Multimodality Tests," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(4), pages 393-409, July-Aug..
  14. Peter C.B. Phillips & Donggyu Sul, 2007. "Transition Modeling and Econometric Convergence Tests," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1595, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  15. Roberto Ezcurra & Pedro Pascual & Manuel Rapún, 2007. "Spatial disparities in the European Union: an analysis of regional polarization," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 41(2), pages 401-429, June.
  16. Hedenus, Fredrik & Azar, Christian, 2005. "Estimates of trends in global income and resource inequalities," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 351-364, November.
  17. Wang, You-Qiang & Tsui, Kai-Yuen, 2000. " Polarization Orderings and New Classes of Polarization Indices," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 2(3), pages 349-63.
  18. X. Zhang & R. Kanbur, 2001. "What Difference Do Polarisation Measures Make? An Application to China," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(3), pages 85-98.
  19. Quah, Danny, 1997. "Empirics for Growth and Distribution: Stratification, Polarization, and Convergence Clubs," CEPR Discussion Papers 1586, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Duro, Juan Antonio & Padilla, Emilio, 2006. "International inequalities in per capita CO2 emissions: A decomposition methodology by Kaya factors," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 170-187, March.
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