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Internet Penetration and the Environmental Kuznets Curve: A Cross-National Analysis

Zhenbo Zhang () and Xiaohua Meng ()
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Zhenbo Zhang: School of Public Administration, Nanjing Audit University, 86 West Yushan Road, Nanjing 211815, China
Xiaohua Meng: Collaborative Innovation Center for Newtype Urbanization and Social Governance of Jiangsu Province, Soochow University, 199 Renai Road, Suzhou 215006, China

Sustainability, 2019, vol. 11, issue 5, 1-12

Abstract: The internet has revolutionized the pattern of economic growth and its environmental effects. We investigate the ways in which internet penetration influences the relationship between income and the environment using data from 1996 to 2014 on CO 2 emissions from 115 countries with multiple levels of per capita GDP and internet penetration. Empirical results document the existence of the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) and reveal that internet penetration does generally reduce the actual income level beyond which pollution begins to decrease. Further tests, based on the division of income and period, indicate an increasing negative influence of internet penetration on emissions reduction, with income growth and the environmental effect of the internet evolving from direct and indirect to systemic. We discuss this study’s contributions to further research on income-environment paths and implications for the role of the internet in emissions reduction.

Keywords: the Environmental Kuznets Curve; internet penetration; income level; emissions reduction (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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