Are Macro-Level Relationships between Demography, Economy, and Environmental Impact Significant at Smaller Scales of Analysis? Identifying County-Level Age-Specific Drivers of CO2 Emissions in the U.S. Using Age-Structure and Relative Cohort Size

Tyler Roberts, University of Colorado at Boulder

Positing that the age distribution of the population differentially affects economic production and, by extension, greenhouse gas emissions, recent investigations into macro-level drivers of carbon dioxide have produced broadly inconclusive results. This research uses the STIRPAT framework to assess the strength of age-structure in driving US county-level CO2 emissions These estimates paint a complex picture for age structure with respect to carbon emissions; counties with older working-age populations have higher emissions than their younger counterparts, while the size of the total dependent population illustrates no significant relationship. The youth dependency ratio is positive and significant, indicating that counties with a high ratio of youth aged fifteen and under have greater total emissions, controlling for population and income. These findings are robust for spatial lag, state fixed effects, and generalized least squares procedures.

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Presented in Poster Session 5