, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 87-106

Eco-Efficiency and Convergence in OECD Countries

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Abstract

This paper assesses the convergence in eco-efficiency of a group of 22 OECD countries over the period 1980–2008. In doing so, three air pollutants representing the impact on the environment of economic activities are considered, namely, carbon dioxide ( ${\text{ CO}}_{2}$ ), nitrogen oxides ( ${\text{ NO}}_\mathrm{X}$ ) and sulphur oxides ( ${\text{ SO}}_\mathrm{X}$ ); furthermore, eco-efficiency scores at both country and air-pollutant-specific level are computed using Data Envelopment Analysis techniques. Then, convergence is evaluated using the recent approach by Phillips and Sul Econometrica 75:1771–1855 (2007), which tests for the existence of convergence groups. First, we find that eco-efficiency has improved over the period, with the exception of ${\text{ NO}}_\mathrm{X}$ emissions. Second, Switzerland is the most eco-efficient country, followed by some Scandinavian economies, such as Sweden, Iceland, Norway and Denmark. In contrast, Southern European countries such as Portugal, Spain and Greece, in addition to Hungary, Turkey, Canada and the United States, are among the worst performers. Finally, we find that both the most eco-efficient countries and the worst tend to form clubs of convergence.