Analyzing the environmental Kuznets curve for the EU countries: the role of ecological footprint
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A great majority of the environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) literature use CO2 emissions to proxy for environmental degradation. However, this is an important shortage in application of the EKC concept because environmental degradation cannot be captured by CO2 emissions only. By using a broader proxy, ecological footprint, this study aims to investigate the presence of environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis for the EU countries. The annual data from 1980 to 2013 is examined with second generation panel data methodologies which take into account the cross-sectional dependence among countries. The results show that there is U-shaped relationship between the real income and ecological footprint. In addition, non-renewable energy increases the environmental degradation while renewable energy and trade openness decrease the environmental degradation in the EU countries. Policy implications are further discussed.