Carbon dioxide emissions in the short run: The rate and sources of economic growth matter

Paul Burke, Md Shahiduzzaman, David Stern

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    This paper investigates the short-run effects of economic growth on carbon dioxide emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels and the manufacture of cement for 189 countries over the period 1961-2010. Contrary to what has previously been reported, we conclude that there is no strong evidence that the emissions-income elasticity is larger during individual years of economic expansion as compared to recession. Significant evidence of asymmetry emerges when effects over longer periods are considered. We find that economic growth tends to increase emissions not only in the same year, but also in subsequent years. Delayed effects - especially noticeable in the road transport sector - mean that emissions tend to grow more quickly after booms and more slowly after recessions. Emissions are more sensitive to fluctuations in industrial value added than agricultural value added, with services being an intermediate case. On the expenditure side, growth in consumption and growth in investment have similar implications for national emissions. External shocks have a relatively large emissions impact, and the short-run emissions-income elasticity does not appear to decline as incomes increase. Economic growth and emissions have been more tightly linked in fossil-fuel rich countries.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)109-121
    JournalGlobal Environmental Change - Human and Policy Dimensions
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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