The Impact of Democracy on Environmental Degradation in OECD CountriesNeslihan Ursavaş
Environmental degradation and its determinants have been extensively discussed in the literature. With the literature mostly focusing on the economic determinants of environmental degradation, such as, economic growth, openness, and globalization. However, the political determinants of environmental degradation are also significant for a sustainable environment. The theoretical approaches differ in this context, with some studies claiming that democracy reduces environmental degradation, while others argue that democracy increases it. Therefore, one can say that no consensus exists among the approaches explaining the relationship between democracy and the environment with regard to how democracy impacts the environment. One of the main goals of this study is to focus on the political components of environmental degradation, such as, democracy. This study additionally investigates the impact of democracy on environmental degradation within the scope of theoretical approaches. Within this context, the study tests the impact of democracy on greenhouse gas emissions per capita in 37 OECD countries for the period of 1995-2018. In order to do this, the study first tests cross-sectional dependence and homogeneity across the variables. The results show the presence of both cross-sectional dependence, as well as slope heterogeneity between the variables. Therefore, the common correlated effects mean group (CCEMG) estimator, is used, as it takes cross-sectional dependence and heterogeneity into consideration. According to the results, democracy is positively related to environmental degradation. In other words, an increase in the level of democracy increases greenhouse gas emissions per capita, whereas higher levels of renewable energy consumption reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
OECD Ülkelerinde Demokrasinin Çevresel Bozulma Üzerindeki EtkisiNeslihan Ursavaş
Çevresel bozulma ve belirleyicileri literatürde kapsamlı bir şekilde tartışılmaktadır. Bununla birlikte, literatür çoğunlukla ekonomik büyüme, açıklık ve küreselleşme gibi çevresel bozulmanın ekonomik belirleyicilerine odaklanmaktadır. Ancak sürdürülebilir bir çevre için çevresel bozulmanın politik belirleyicileri de oldukça önemlidir. Bu bağlamda konuyla ilgili teorik yaklaşımlar ise birbirinden farklıdır. Bazı çalışmalar demokrasinin çevresel bozulmayı azalttığını iddia ederken; bazı çalışmalar ise demokrasinin çevresel bozulmayı artırdığını savunmaktadır. Dolayısıyla demokrasi ve çevre arasındaki ilişkiyi açıklamaya yönelik yaklaşımlar arasında demokrasinin çevreyi nasıl etkilediği konusunda bir fikir birliği olmadığı görülmektedir. Bu çalışmanın temel amaçlarından biri, çevresel bozulmanın demokrasi gibi politik bileşenlerine odaklanmaktır. Bununla birlikte çalışmada konu ile ilgili teorik argümanlar çerçevesinde demokrasinin çevresel bozulma üzerindeki etkisi incelenmektedir. Belirtilen amaçlar doğrultusunda 37 OECD ülkesinde 1995-2018 dönemi için demokrasinin kişi başı sera gazı emisyonu üzerindeki etkisi test edilmektedir. İlk olarak seriler arasında yatay kesit bağımlılığı ve eğim katsayısının homojen olup olmadığı test edilmektedir. Elde edilen bulgulara göre seriler arasında hem yatay kesit bağımlılığı olduğu hem de eğim katsayısının heterojen olduğu gözlenmektedir. Bu nedenle yatay kesit bağımlılığı ve heterojenliği dikkate alan Ortak İlişkili Etkiler Ortalama Grup (CCEMG) tahmincisi kullanılmaktadır. Elde edilen bulgulara göre demokrasi düzeyindeki artış kişi başı sera gazı emisyonunu artırırken; yenilenebilir enerji tüketimi sera gazı emisyonunu azaltmaktadır.
This study investigates the relationship between environmental degradation and democracy in 37 OECD countries. The dataset covers the period of 1995-2018. The literature on environmental degradation can be classified as follows: The first group of studies investigates the relationship between environmental degradation and its economic indicators, and the second group focuses on the relationship between environmental degradation and its political indicators. While some of these studies state democracy to increase environmental degradation, other studies argue opposite, with democracy decreasing environmental pollution.
No consensus is observed to exist regarding how democracy impacts environmental degradation. Using this motivation, this study focuses on the political determinants of environmental degradation, unlike the existing literature which has mainly focused on the economic determinants of environmental pollution. This study examines the relationship between democracy and greenhouse gas emissions per capita in 37 OECD countries over 1995-2018 the period using the common correlated effects mean group (CCEMG) estimator.
Many studies are found to have examined the determinants of environmental degradation. A significant portion of these studies has analyzed the impacts of economic factors such as economic growth, trade openness, and globalization on environmental pollution. While some of these studies (Jalil & Mahmud, 2009; Lau et al., 2014; Destek et al., 2016; Doğan & Turkekul, 2016; Shahbaz et al., 2017; Zhang et al., 2017; Pata, 2019; Ling et al., 2021; used carbon emissions as a proxy for environmental degradation, a second group of studies (Ahmed et al., 2019; Apaydın et al., 2021; Apaydın, 2020) used the ecological footprint index. However, very little research is found in the literature regarding political determinants on environmental degradation, such as democracy. While some of these studies have argued democracy to positively affect environmental degradation, others have argued a negative relationship to exist between democracy and the environment. Studies such as those from Binder and Neumayer (2005), Li and Reuveny (2006), Bernauer and Kaubi (2004; 2009), Romuald (2016), and Hotunluoğlu and Yılmaz (2018) have shown democracy to reduce environmental pollution. However, a few studies such as those from Brenna (2015), and Gallagher and Thacker (2008) have argued democracy to have a positive or negligible impact on the environment.
The results from the cointegration test show a long term relationship to exist among the variables. According to the CCEMG results, democracy has a positive and statistically significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions per capita. Alongside this, the study also uses renewable energy consumption, income per capita, and urban population as control variables. The results show the impacts of income per capita and urban population to not be statistically significant, while also showing a negative and significant relationship to exist between democracy and renewable energy consumption.
This study investigates the impact of democracy on greenhouse gas emissions per capita over the period 1995-2018 for 37 OECD countries. The results show democracy to be positively related to greenhouse gas emissions per capita. An increase in democracy levels increases greenhouse gas emissions per capita. Meanwhile, democracy leads to environmental degradation. On the other hand, an increase in renewable energy consumption levels decreases greenhouse gas emissions per capita in OECD countries, as expected. An increase in the percentage that renewable energy makes up overall energy consumption increases quality of the environment. Therefore, countries with high renewable energy consumption are able to provide a sustainable solution to environmental problems. According to the other important finding from the study, an increase in democracy increases the amount of greenhouse gas emissions per capita. This result supports the approaches claimed by studies such as those from Drzek (1987) and Bernauer and Koubi (2004), which showed democracy to increase environmental degradation. Therefore, regulatory institutions are able to reduce the negative impact that democracy has on environmental quality by limiting the power lawmakers have to permit excessive resource use. An ecological constitution may also be prepared in order to ensure the sustainability of environmental policies as well as to prevent the problem of political myopia.