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A New Look at the Democracy–Environment Nexus: Evidence from Panel Data for High- and Low-Income Countries

Department of Energy Systems Engineering, College of Engineering, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Korea
Department of Economics, School of Management, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(8), 2353;
Received: 7 March 2019 / Revised: 15 April 2019 / Accepted: 16 April 2019 / Published: 19 April 2019
PDF [224 KB, uploaded 19 April 2019]


This study is to investigate whether the multifaceted roles of democracy have a positive relationship with environmental quality. Using a panel data of 132 high- and low-income countries from 2014 to 2016, a random effect (RE) model is analyzed in comparison with cross-sectional analysis. To pursue the current research thoroughly, five elements of democracy that encompass the aspects of democratic institutions (election system, civil liberties, and government function) and the aspects of democratic culture (political participation and political culture) are selected. We find that elements of democracy are positively correlated with the environment in high-income countries. In low-income countries, on the other hand, it is found that the role of democracy in explaining the environmental quality appears to be very weak; only the effect of government function positively relates with the environment. View Full-Text
Keywords: Democracy; environment; environmental Kuznets curve; panel data Democracy; environment; environmental Kuznets curve; panel data
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Kim, S.; Baek, J.; Heo, E. A New Look at the Democracy–Environment Nexus: Evidence from Panel Data for High- and Low-Income Countries. Sustainability 2019, 11, 2353.

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