Tourism, economic growth, and tourism-induced EKC hypothesis: evidence from the Mediterranean region

Jing Gao, Wen Xu, Lei Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


This paper investigates the relationship among CO2 emissions, energy consumption, economic growth and tourism development using data for a panel of 18 Mediterranean countries over the period 1995–2010. The findings from cointegrating polynomial regression indicate that the tourism-induced environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) hypothesis is confirmed for three out of nine countries for which cointegration tests suggest a long-run equilibrium relationship between the examined variables. A group of causalities have been found for the Mediterranean countries. In particular, our results demonstrate bidirectional causality between GDP and tourism development for the Northern Mediterranean countries, while for the southern and global panel we document one-way causality running from tourism development to economic growth. We also show unidirectional causality running from tourism to CO2 emissions across regions. The empirical results suggest that Mediterranean countries should place more emphasis on tourism development, sustainable tourism in particular, given the potential relationship among tourism development, GDP and CO2 emissions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1507-1529
Number of pages23
JournalEmpirical Economics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Cointegrating polynomial regressions
  • Economic growth
  • Mediterranean countries
  • Panel causality
  • Tourism-induced EKC hypothesis


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