The relationship between economic growth and environmental quality has been much under dispute. According to the EKC (Environmental Kuznets Curve) hypothesis, environmental damage increases in the early stages of economic growth, but diminishes once nations reach higher levels of income. While the notion EKC is well established, there is controversy about its shape, incidence and determinants. In this paper, we model EKC with the variables of GDP and CO2 emissions (aggregate and per capita) using alternative model specifications to bridge the gap between conventional and modern EKC literature. We also place the theoretical construct of EKC into a policy-oriented framework by incorporating the impact of four global policy periods namely, liberalisation, globalisation, world recovery and global financial crisis. We substantiate a cubic form of EKC in the Indian context for the time period 1991 to 2014. With aggregate CO2 emissions as the dependent variable, the linear, quadratic and cubic terms are all significant with the expected signs, which confirm an N-shaped EKC for India. Even with per capita emissions as the dependent variable, existence of an N-shaped EKC is established. In this case however, evidence on the cubic term is rather weak which points towards the difference in socio-psychological factors that influence the revival of upturn in the case of India. The policy period analysis does not show any distinct results, which could be due to contradictory effects on different variables and volatility in these variables.
Environmental Kuznets Curve, Environment, Development, Trade, Growth.