A Study of Ecologically Unequal Exchange for 89 Countries Between 1990 and 2015

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Ecologically unequal exchange, Global trade, CO2 emissions, Climate change

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This study aims to understand the uneven distribution of CO2 emissions between high-income countries (HICs) and middle and low-income countries (MLICs). In this paper, I expand on previous research by including additional measures of ecologically unequal exchange and I also identify the underlying causes to that exchange. I use both productionbased and consumption-based CO2 emissions as outcome measures. The descriptive statistics for 89 countries from 1990 to 2015 show that the HICs are net-exporters while the MLICs are net-importers of CO2 emissions, and the structural relationship has become increasingly unequal. I then use the time-series cross-sectional Prais–Winsten regression with panel-corrected standard errors to analyze these data. The findings show that trade has benefited HICs by reducing their emissions, which are offset by emissions increases in MLICs where pollution-intensive goods have been produced and exported. In this way, HICs can displace emissions associated with their high levels of consumption to MLICs. The findings complement current literature and also have policy implications. To effectively combat climate change, it is important to develop a framework that clearly allocates the responsibility of emissions across countries.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

The Social Science Journal, v. 57, issue 2, p. 245-257