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Cultural and Political Determinants of Air Quality

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  • Francisca Guedes de Oliveira

    ()
    (Faculdade de Economia e Gestão - Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Porto)

  • Alexandra Leitão

    ()
    (Faculdade de Economia e Gestão - Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Porto)

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    Abstract

    This paper investigates empirically the determinants of air quality in a large cross-section of countries. We assess air quality by sulfur emissions and, following the literature, we consider three different groups of determinants: economic, political and cultural. We confirm the existence of an EKC for sulfur (inverted-U shaped relation between wealth and pollution). Political determinants are proxied by ethnic or religious fractionalization indexes and the country’s legal origin (we consider five possible legal origins: English common law, French civil law, German civil law, Scandinavian legal system and Socialist legal system). Cultural determinants are assessed by the percentage of a country’s population that belongs to one of the three main religions (Catholic, Muslim or Protestant). Our goal is to establish the economic, political and cultural profile of a country that manages to be efficient in providing good air quality. We conclude that a country will provide higher air quality if it has one or more of the following characteristics: it is ethnic and/or religious homogeneous, it has a German or Scandinavian legal tradition; it is Protestant.

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    File URL: http://www.porto.ucp.pt/feg/repec/WP/012012-Oliveira-Cultural_and_Political_Determinants_of_Air_Quality.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Faculdade de Economia e Gestão, Universidade Católica Portuguesa (Porto) in its series Working Papers de Economia (Economics Working Papers) with number 01.

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    Length: 23 pages
    Date of creation: Mar 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:cap:wpaper:012012

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    Keywords: Air quality; political determinants; cultural determinants; environmental efficiency;

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    References

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    1. Guido Tabellini, 2006. "Culture and institutions: economic development in the regions of Europe," Levine's Working Paper Archive 321307000000000466, David K. Levine.
    2. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-79, April.
    3. Smith, Vincent H. & Kehoe, Michael R. & Cremer, Mary E., 1995. "The private provision of public goods: Altruism and voluntary giving," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 107-126, September.
    4. Bernauer, Thomas & Koubi, Vally, 2009. "Effects of political institutions on air quality," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(5), pages 1355-1365, March.
    5. Barrett, Scott & Graddy, Kathryn, 2000. "Freedom, growth, and the environment," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(04), pages 433-456, October.
    6. Alesina, Alberto & Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William, 1999. "Public goods and ethnic divisions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2108, The World Bank.
    7. Robert J. Barro & Rachel McCleary, 2003. "Religion and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 9682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. John Asafu-Adjaye, 2003. "Biodiversity Loss and Economic Growth: A Cross-Country Analysis," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 21(2), pages 173-185, 04.
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