Environmental Kuznets Curve Revisited, with Reference to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

Main Article Content

Patricia Aguado
Jinhwan Oh


Using an up-to-date panel dataset that covers 88 countries over a 38-year period (1991–2018), this paper revisits the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) to measure environmental degradation (CO2, methane, nitrous Oxide, PM 2.5, HFC, PFC and SF6) in relation to GDP per capita. This study confirms the inverted-U relation for CO2 emissions, with the estimated turning point at $13,233, but also identifies a U relation in the case of PM 2.5. Furthermore, in a regional analysis of both CO2 and PM 2.5, with special reference to the MENA region, it finds gaps between actual CO2 emissions and their fitted values. We observe that Libya, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Algeria show average ratios higher than 1, meaning the actual values are higher than the fitted ones and therefore these countries face more serious pollution problems. Based on this finding, we recommend the implementation of policies in this region that aim to reach energy efficiency as well as the development of eco-friendly and sustainable technologies.  


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Aguado, P., & Oh, J. (2021). Environmental Kuznets Curve Revisited, with Reference to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) . Nakhara : Journal of Environmental Design and Planning, 20, Article 110. Retrieved from https://ph01.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/nakhara/article/view/243382


1. Agras J. & Chapman D. (1999). A dynamic approach to the environmental Kuznets Curve hypothesis. Ecological Economics, 28(2), 267-277. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0921-8009(98)00040-8

2. Alrawashdeh, R., Jaradat, A., & Al-Shboul, M. (2015). Air pollution and economic growth in MENA countries: Testing EKC hypothesis. Environmental Research, Engineering and Management, 70. https://doi.org/10.5755/j01.erem.70.4.7743

3. Arouri, M. E. H., Ben Youssef, A., M’henni, H., & Rault, C. (2012). Energy consumption, economic growth and CO2 emissions in Middle East and North African countries. Energy Policy, 45, 342–349. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2012.02.042

4. Babiker, M. & Fehaid, M. (2011). Climate change policy in the MENA region: Prospects, challenges, and the Implication of market instruments [working paper 588]. Economic Research Forum.

5. Correa, J. (2004). Crecimiento económico y medio ambiente: una revisión analítica de la hipótesis de la curva ambiental de Kuznets[Economic Growth and the Environment: An Analytical Review of the Environmental Kuznets Curve Hypothesis]. Revista Semestre Económico, 7(14), 73 – 104. https://repository.udem.edu.co/handle/11407/1966?show=full

6. Croitoru, L & Sarraf, M (2010). The Cost of environmental degradation: Case studies from the Middle East and North Africa. Directions in Development ; environment. The World Bank.

7. Farhani, S., Shahbaz, M., Sbia, R., & Chaibi, A. (2014). What does MENA region initially need: Grow output or mitigate CO2 emissions? Economic Modelling, 38, 270–281. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.econmod.2014.01.001

8. Farid, Mai, Michael Keen, Michael Papaioannou, Ian W. H. Parry, Catherine Pattillo, and Anna Ter-Martirosyan (2016). After Paris: Fiscal, macroeconomic, and financial implications of climate change [IMF Staff Discussion Note 16/01]. International Monetary Fund.

9. Farzanegan, M. R., & Markwardt, G. (2012). Pollution, economic development and democracy: Evidence from the MENA countries (Issues 27–2012). Philipps-University Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics. http://hdl.handle.net/10419/73077

10. Goel, R. K., Herrala, R., & Mazhar, U. (2013). Institutional quality and environmental pollution: MENA countries versus the rest of the world. Economic Systems, 37(4), 508–521. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecosys.2013.04.002

11. Grossman, G.M. and Krueger, A.B., (1991). Environmental impacts of a North American free trade agreement. National Bureau of Economic Research. https://doi.org/10.3386/w3914

12. Grossman, G. & Krueger, A. (1992). Environmental impacts of a North American free trade agreement. Centre for Economic Policy Research. https://cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=644

13. Grossman G. & Krueger A. (1995). Economic growth and the environment. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 110(2), 353–377. https://doi.org/10.2307/2118443

14. Hettige, H., Mani, M. and Wheeler, D. (2000). Industrial pollution in economic development: the environmental Kuznets curve revisited. Journal of Development Economics, 62(2), 445-476. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0304-3878(00)00092-4

15. Holtz-Eakin, D. & Selden, T.M. (1995). Stoking the fires? CO2 emissions and economic growth. Journal of Public Economics, 57(1), 85–101. https://doi.org/10.1016/0047-2727(94)01449-X

16. International Monetary Fund (IMF). (2019). Fiscal monitor: How to mitigate climate change. IMF, 1-96.

17. Jha, R., & Bhanu Murthy, K.V. (2003). An inverse global environmental Kuznets curve. Journal of Comparative Economics, 31(2), 352-368. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0147-5967(03)00042-8

18. Kuznets, S. (1955). Economic growth and income inequality. American Economic Review, 45 (1), 1–28.

19. Leitao, A. (2010). Corruption and the environmental Kuznets Curve: Empirical evidence for sulfur. Ecological Economics, 69(11), 2191- 2201. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2010.06.004

20. Lorente, D. B., & Álvarez-Herranz, A. (2016). Economic growth and energy regulation in the environmental Kuznets curve. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 23, 16478-16494. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-016-6773-3

21. Lucas, R. E. B. & Wheeler, D.& Hettige, H. (1991, Nov. 21-22). Economic development, environmental regulation and the international migration of toxic industrial pollution: 1960-88 [Paper presented at the Symposium]. The Symposium on International Trade and the Environment, The World Bank.

22. Meng, B., Peters, G., Wang, Z., & Li, M. (2018). Tracing CO2 emissions in global value chains. Energy Economics, 73, 24-42. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eneco.2018.05.013

23. Oh Jinhwan and Yun ChiHyun (2014). Environmental Kuznets curve revisited with special reference to Eastern Europe and Central Asia. International Area Studies Review, 17(4), 359-374. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F2233865914553518

24. Osabuohien, E. S., Efobi, U. R., & Gitau, C. M. W. (2014). Beyond the environmental Kuznets Curve in Africa: Evidence from panel cointegration. Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 16(4), 517–538. https://doi.org/10.1080/1523908X.2013.867802

25. Özokcu, S., & Özdemir, Ö. (2017). Economic growth, energy, and environmental Kuznets curve. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 72, 639-647. https://doi.org/10.1080/1523908X.2013.867802

26. Panayotou, T. (2003) Economic growth and the environment. In: UNECE (ed.) Economic Survey of Europe, No 2. United Nations Economic Commission for Europe: Geneva, Switzerland, 45–72.

27. Parry, I. W. H. & Morris, A. & Roberton C. W. III (2015). Implementing a US carbon Tax: Challenges and debates. Routledge.

28. Sarkodie, S. A., & Strezov, V. (2018). Empirical study of the environmental Kuznets curve and environmental sustainability curve hypothesis for Australia, China, Ghana and USA. Journal of Cleaner Production, 201, 98–110. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.08.039

29. Sarkodie, S. A., & Strezov, V. (2019). A review on environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis using bibliometric and meta-analysis. Science of The Total Environment, 649, 128–145. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.08.276

30. Sehid, M. & Aslan, M. (2019). Impacts of economic indicators on environmental degradation: Evidence from MENA countries. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 103, 259-268.

31. Selden, T.M. & Song D. (1994). Environmental quality and development: Is there a Kuznets curve for air pollution emissions? Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 27(2), 147–162. https://doi.org/10.1006/jeem.1994.1031

32. Shafik, N. & Bandyopadhyay, S. (1992). Economic growth and environmental quality: Time-series and cross-country evidence [Background Paper for World Development Report 1992]. The World Bank

33. Stern, D. (2004). The rise and fall of the environmental Kuznets Curve. World Development, 32(8), 1419-1439. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2004.03.004

34. Suri, V., & Chapman, D. (1998). Economic growth, trade and energy: Implications for the environmental Kuznets curve. Ecological Economics, 25(2), 195–208. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/S0921-8009(97)00180-8

35. Tagliapietra, S. (2019). The impact of the global energy transition on MENA oil and gas producers. Energy Strategy Reviews, 26, 1-6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esr.2019.100397

36. The Climate Leadership Council (2019). Economists’ statement on carbon dividends. https://clcouncil.org/economists-statement/

37. Torras, M. & Boyce, J. (1998). Income, inequality, and pollution: a reassessment of the environmental Kuznets curve. Ecological economics, 25(2), 147-160. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0921-8009(97)00177-8

38. Wycoff, A.W. & Roop, J.M. (1994). The embodiment of carbon in imports of manufactured products: Implications for international agreements on greenhouse gas emissions. Energy Policy, 22(3), 187–194. https://doi.org/10.1016/0301-4215(94)90158-9

39. Yusuf, A. M., Abubakar, A. B., & Mamman, S. O. (2020). Relationship between greenhouse gas emission, energy consumption, and economic growth: evidence from some selected oil-producing African countries. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 27(13), 15815–15823. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-020-08065-z