Quality of institutions, technological progress, and pollution havens in Latin America. An analysis of the Environmental Kuznets Curve hypothesis
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A set of 17-year panel data (1996-2013) across a representative sample from eighteen Latin American countries is used to respond four research questions: Did Latin American Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions prove the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) hypothesis? Did the quality of institutions play a compensating role for income on environmental stress? Did technological progress help decouple income from environmental stress? Has the Pollution Haven Hypothesis (PHH) been proven? In order to answer the research questions, the paper expands the traditional EKC approach by including an exclusive quality analysis of institutions, technological progress, and PHH as part of the model. This innovation is developed considering the most recent literature about EKC as a starting point. Major findings show that the relationship between income and GHG emissions is adjusted to the traditional EKC hypothesis for the analyzed period. They also show that the quality of institutions and technological progress improve environmental sustainability. However, the variables, Foreign Direct Investment and International Trade, provide a negative answer to the fourth question. The main methodological contribution of this paper is to use a threefold extended classic EKC model to conduct the feasible generalized least squares method. The paper also contributes to the growing body of PHH literature. © 2019 by the authors.
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