Project information

  • Category: Past Research
  • Affiliation: University of North Carolina Wilmington
  • Project date: May 2020
  • Keywords: Environmental Kuznets Curve, Panel Data, Forest Land, Conservation, CO2 Emissions
  • JEL Classification: Q24, Q38, Q56


This paper presents an empirical study which provides evidence of an Environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) at the United States state level, as well as the role that forest land conservation and other exogenous variables play within this relationship. We utilize U.S. state-level panel data to examine patterns of carbon dioxide emission inventories from fossil fuel combustion as a proxy for environmental degradation as well as per capita forms of personal income and real gross domestic product (RGDP) as proxies for economic growth. The effects of land conservation in this relationship are included through forest land area conserved under the United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service. Other exogenous variables incorporated in our final model include capital investment and average energy prices. In addition to providing evidence of an EKC relationship in the U.S., we identify of states with the greatest baseline emissions and the estimates of a range of variables have on those emissions.