Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2017

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors



First Advisor

Martin Boileau


It is important to determine if high economic growth can be sustained within environmental constraints or without exceeding ecological thresholds. This paper aims to test the existence of the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) in developing economies using panel data analysis. The EKC states that pollution increases as income goes up, and after reaching a turning point, it starts to decrease. By analyzing the relationship between GDP per capita and greenhouse gas emissions,

I conclude that the EKC curve does exist for China, India, and South Africa, which will continue to pollute, while the hypothesis does not hold for Brazil and Russia. Additionally, WTO membership and, more specifically, trade openness, increases emission levels.