Regulation, Governance and Carbon Dioxide Emissions: Some Global Lessons

Published: 21 January 2021| Version 7 | DOI: 10.17632/dhn2cdwnwb.7
Weimin Jiang, Leizhen Zang, Michael Cole, Jiajing Sun


Abstract: This article contributes to debates about regulation and regulatory quality through an analysis of effectiveness in diminution of carbon dioxide emissions. Countries were contrasted regarding income levels and governance. Overall, this study implied that improving regulatory quality diminished carbon dioxide levels regardless of income levels, although those effects were most acute for high-income countries. Concerning democracies and non-democracies, the study identified more nuanced and complex relationships that might be interpreted through contrasting governmental and political cultures and responsiveness. Overall, these findings challenged the widespread applicability of regulatory good practice models, grounded on developed world, neo-liberal and marketized perspectives. Data Description: Our variables are obtained from the authoritative sources, for example World Development Indicators were taken from the World Bank and data on regimes from the Quality of Government (QoG) Institute. We measured regulatory quality through the World Bank’s Regulatory Quality Index, which captures perceptions of government capacity ‘to formulate and implement sound policies and regulations that permit and promote private sector development.’ Data (kg per 2010 US$ of GDP) from the World Bank was used as the main measure for carbon emissions. Heterogeneity amongst countries necessitated control variables, choice reflecting usage in previous studies. First, we incorporated the GDP annual percentage growth rate, reflective of findings that economic growth raises carbon emissions. The stage of economic development, measured by per capita GDP, was also included, reflective of the EKC-concept that as countries shift from middle to high-income status economic growth starts to facilitate carbon emission reductions. Industrialization, measured by ‘Industry (including construction), value added (% of GDP)’ and urbanization, measured by ‘Urban population (% of total)’, were included to reflect consensus that industrialization and urbanization raise carbon emissions. The percentage of the land area allocated to forests, the percentage of electricity generated from fossil fuels and the percentage of renewable energy consumption were included to reflect the effect of energy structure on carbon emissions. Finally, an education measure, the number of years of secondary schooling, was incorporated to reflect observed connections between educational attainment and carbon emissions. Contact Email:



Public Administration, Environmental Economics