An Empirical Test of Environmental Kuznets Curve Hypothesis for Regions in Taiwan
環境顧志耐曲線 ； Environmental Kuznets Curve
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The relationship between economic growth and the environmental quality has been drawn considerable attention for the last three decades. The studies of Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) aim at exploring whether the pollution would first increase with economic growth and then decrease after some turning point. A survey on the current literature shows that most of the studies of EKC are focused on the national level. Only few of them compare the differences of empirical results for EKC across different regions within a country. The same literature gap exists for the empirical studies of Taiwan. However, regional air pollutions, such as SO2 and PM10, will be impacted by the development of regional industries, weather, and other geographical factors. The studies at national levels can only show the average results for the whole country. Therefore, to understand the different patterns of EKC among regions, we collect the annual panel data of 22 counties in Taiwan during 1994 to 2014, and divide them into four regions (northern, central, southern and eastern regions of Taiwan). The EKC hypotheses are respectively testedfor the four regions. The air pollutions under investigation consist of SO2 and PM10. In addition to real income per capita, our regressions incorporate other explanatory variables such as the number of cars, the employment and land area of secondary industry, and the days of rainfall per year. Our empirical evidences show that the test results of EKC hypotheses are quite different for Taiwan and individual regions. In addition, regional air pollutions are influenced by different factors. Concerning the impact of real income per capita on SO2, it is insignificant in the northern, central and eastern regions. However, an inverted U relationship exists between real income per capita and SO2 in the southern region. The test results for PM10 are quite different across regions. There is a U shape relationship between real income per capita and PM10 in the northern region. In the central region, PM10 decreases as the real income per capita increases. In the southern region, it shows an inverted U shape relationship, suggesting validity of EKC hypothesis. Finally, the impact of real income per capita on PM10 is insignificant in the eastern region. In addition to real income per capita, we also investigate the impacts of the other explanatory variables on SO2 and PM10. The results show that the number of cars and employment of secondary industry have significant impacts on SO2 in the northern, central, and southern regions. Moreover, the number of cars and employment of secondary industry are also significant factors affecting PM10 in southern region. However, these explanatory variables are insignificant to PM10 in the northern and central regions, and to SO2 in the eastern region. The days of rainfall per year are only significant in the regression of PM10 in the eastern region. In conclusion, we suggest that policies for air pollutions abatement should be designed according to each region’s characteristic such as economic development, industrial development and geographical factors.
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