The Environmental Kuznets Curve in the OECD: 1870–2014

Sefa Awaworyi Churchill, John Inekwe, Kris Ivanovski, Russell Smyth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

254 Citations (Scopus)


Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions play an important role in global warming. Consequently, studying the relationship between CO2 emissions and economic development is important, especially when viewed from a historical perspective. We test the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) hypothesis for a panel of 20 OECD nations, dating back to the first globalization boom in the nineteenth century. Utilising recently developed panel data estimators that account for cross-sectional dependence and parameter heterogeneity, for the period 1870 to 2014, we find support for the EKC hypothesis for the panel as a whole with three of our preferred four estimators, with turning points in income per capita that lie between $18,955 and $89,540 (in 1990 US$). Country-specific results, however, only provide mixed support for the EKC hypothesis. Specifically, we find evidence of an EKC for nine of the 20 countries, with five exhibiting a traditional inverted U-shaped relationship, three exhibiting an N-shaped relationship and one, an inverted N-shaped relationship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-399
Number of pages11
JournalEnergy Economics
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018


  • Environmental Kuznets CurveCO emissions
  • Cross-section dependence
  • Panel data


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