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Nuclear energy, CO2 emissions and economic growth: The case of developing and developed countries

Abdullah Alam (International Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan)

Journal of Economic Studies

ISSN: 0144-3585

Article publication date: 28 October 2013




The paper aims to study the relationship between economic growth, nuclear energy consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for a panel of 25 countries over a period of 1993-2010. Through this study, the author has provided an insight into one of the available sources of energy, i.e. nuclear energy and its impact on economic growth and CO2 emissions.


Separate panels are created for developing and developed economies. Short- and long-run causalities between the variables are established using error correction mechanism.


For the developed countries, short-run causality running from CO2 emissions to economic growth was estimated, whereas strong form of causality indicated the dependence of CO2 emissions on economic growth and nuclear energy consumption was seen to impact CO2 emissions. For the developing countries, both the short-run and strong-form causality estimates indicate that economic growth causes CO2 emissions.

Practical implications

On policy front, developing countries can safely adopt CO2 cut-back policies as they are not found to impact economic growth. For the developed countries, such policies may impede growth in the short run, but in the long run these policies do not affect the economic growth.


Keeping in mind the significance of nuclear energy consumption in economic growth and less/no GHG emissions generated by nuclear energy, this study validates its significance. This study, to the best of the author's knowledge, considers the largest panel (i.e. 25 countries) to date and the only study that focuses on studying three different panels (complete dataset, developed countries, developing countries) in one study and applies the vector error correction mechanism to study the causal relationship between nuclear energy consumption, CO2 emissions and economic growth.



JEL classification – C52, Q43.


Alam, A. (2013), "Nuclear energy, CO2 emissions and economic growth: The case of developing and developed countries", Journal of Economic Studies, Vol. 40 No. 6, pp. 822-834.



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Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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