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2021 Honors Thesis: Ben Smith


Ben Smith

Title of Thesis:

Cowboy and Spaceman: The Driving Forces of Energy and the Economic and Environmental Tradeoff


Hugo Mialon, John Wegner (Environmental Sciences), Miguel R. Rueda (Political Science)


The environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) presents a framework that depicts the dynamic relationship between economic growth and environmental quality. As a society grows in income, it will be accompanied by environmental degradation, but after reaching an apex will begin to decrease monotonically as income continues to grow. In this project, renewable and nuclear energy productions are used as a proxy within this framework to analyze how such energy production relates to these EKC variables; Granger causality is used between the two sides, and both directionalities are compared. No significant causality is found from the EKC variables acting on energy production, but renewable energy production appears to have a causal link to GDP and carbon dioxide emissions.

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