Inequalities, geography and emissions
Titre du projet
Inequalities, geography and emissions
The relationship between environmental policy and economic inequalities between countries is relatively well established. In particular, environmental amenities being a normal good, rich countries tend to adopt greener policies than poorer ones. In contrast, the link between the environment and inequalities within countries is a lot less well understood and much less analyzed. This is not because of a lack of importance: regional disparities within countries are large, sometimes even larger than across countries. Neither is this due to a lack of relevance: richer regions or income groups may care more for the environment within a given nation, which in turn will shape the national policy stance. Rather, the lack of evidence is essentially due to a lack of data: those at the national level are easily available, but those at the subnational level are still scarce and often non-comparable across countries. The main objective of this research project is to study the role of within-country inequalities on environmental policy choices. Relying on recent data sources that contain economic, geographic and environmental variables at the regional level allows for a systematic analysis of regional disparities within countries, and of their various links with the environment. How do within-country disparities in per capita emissions compare with between-country ones? Have they been converging recently? Is there a significant link between regional income inequalities and national emissions, and how does this position the pursuit of social equity and environmental protection at the world-wide level: in the same wagon or on a collision course? The project has two parts. First, by merging three different data sources, we construct a new database that reports anthropogenic emissions, GDP, population and geographic characteristics for thousands of grid cells on the Earth’s surface over the 1990-2005 period. This will allow us to analyze the world distribution of several types of emissions (including not only direct Greenhouse Gases but also ozone precursor gases and other substances), and to propose several inequality measures. Second, using econometric techniques, and controlling for geographic factors, we propose to estimate by how much economic inequalities affect emissions and environmental policy. To do this, we will regress emissions per capita at the cell level on income per capita and other controls. We will also investigate whether emissions or environmental policy proxies at the national level are affected by within-country economic and environmental inequality. All regressions will be performed using state of the art econometric techniques, and testing for the presence of neighbouring (or spatial) effects. The project enriches our knowledge in several respects. The unique data collection and associated framework will allow us to provide a novel descriptive analysis that is both global in scope and detailed in terms of regional disaggregation. The project proposes new ways of calculating inequalities that are more appropriate to the analysis of emissions. In terms of observation units, countries are replaced by grid cells, which are more comparable to one another, and more suitable to uncover geographic disparities or regional agglomeration effects. Associated regression estimates will allow for a better understanding of the determinants of anthropogenic emissions and for a simulation of the impact of environmental and distributional policies (taking these as exogenous) on emissions. In addition, regressions results will also allow us to estimate if economic inequalities and geographic characteristics are important determinants of environmental policies (considering them endogenous in a political-economy setting).
Date de début
1 Février 2012
Date de fin
30 Avril 2015
De Melo, Jaime
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- PublicationAccès libreGeographical spread of global emissions: Within-country inequalities are large and increasingIn spite of the extensive literature on greenhouse gas emission inequalities at the world-wide level, most of the evidence so far has been based on country-level data. However, the within-country dimension matters for both the implementation and the policy formation of climate policies. As a preliminary step towards a better understanding of within-country inequalities, this paper measures their extent for the two major greenhouse gases, CO2 and CH4, over the 1970–2008 period. Using Theil-index decompositions, we show that within-country inequalities account for the bulk of global inequality, and tend to increase over the sample period, in contrast with diminishing between-country inequalities. Including differences across sectors reveals that between-sector inequalities matter more than between-country inequalities, and between-sector inequalities become the dominant source of global inequality at the end of the sample period in the CO2 case. Finally, estimated social tensions arising from the disconnection between emissions and future damages turn out to be increasing as soon as within-country disparities are taken into account. These orders of magnitude should be kept in mind while discussing the efficiency and fairness of alternative paths in combating global warming.
- PublicationAccès libreIndustrial Location in Chinese Provinces: Does Energy Abundance Matter?We identify the driving factors of manufacturing activity across Chinese provinces with a particular focus on energy endowments. A model of production location is estimated, including both comparative advantage and economic geography determinants. The data set used consists of a panel of 28 Chinese provinces and 12 manufacturing industries over the period 1999-2009. Results confirm the relative importance of energy endowments. We find that larger energy endowments are significantly correlated with larger production of energy-intensive sectors. Disaggregating across energy carriers shows that coal exhibits the strongest impact. These results are robust across alternative specifications.