The Environment Kuznets Curve (EKC) predicts an inverted U-shaped relationship between economic growth and environmental pollution. Current analyses frequently employ models which restrict the nonlinearities in the data to be explained by the economic growth variable only. We propose a Generalized Cointegrating Polynomial Regression (GCPR) with flexible time trends to proxy time effects such as technological progress and/or environmental awareness. More specifically, a GCPR includes flexible powers of deterministic trends and integer powers of stochastic trends. We estimate the GCPR by nonlinear least squares and derive its asymptotic distribution. Endogeneity of the regressors can introduce nuisance parameters into this limiting distribution but a simulated approach nevertheless enables us to conduct valid inference. Moreover, a subsampling KPSS test can be used to check the stationarity of the errors. A comprehensive simulation study shows good performance of the simulated inference approach and the subsampling KPSS test. We illustrate the GCPR approach on a dataset of 18 industrialised countries containing GDP and CO2 emissions. We conclude that: (1) the evidence for an EKC is significantly reduced when a nonlinear time trend is included, and (2) a linear cointegrating relation between GDP and CO2 around a power law trend also provides an accurate description of the data.

Original language | English |
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Publication status | Published - 4 Sep 2020 |
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