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Inequality, Environmental Protection and Growth

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  • Marsiliani, L.
  • Renstrom, T.I.

    (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)

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    Abstract

    Why do Scandinavian countries perform better in terms of environmental protection than other European Union countries? In this paper, we explore the hypothesis that societies characterised by low income inequality (such as the nordic European countries) generate political-economic equilibria where environmental policy is more stringent. We model an overlapping-generations economy in which individuals differ in skills to address the question to what extent in modern democracies, income distribution influences the stringency of environmental policy and consequently the growth of a country. Individuals work when they are young and own capital when they are old. Pollution externalities are present due to the use of a polluting factor. The government uses the revenue from a capital-income tax and a pollution tax for a lump-sum transfer to the old generation. The fiscal decision at each point in time is taken by a majority elected representative. In politico-economic equilibrium, the lower the skill of the median individual is relative to the average, the smaller the pollution tax and the capital stock are, and the greater the capital income-tax and the relative use of the polluting factor. We perform both steady-state analysis and examine the transition path. Subsequently, we present an empirical analysis for two panels of seven and ten industrialised countries from the late seventies to late nineties. Our framework is able to explain the stylised facts regarding inequality, environmental protection, and growth.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research in its series Discussion Paper with number 2000-34.

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    Date of creation: 2000
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    Handle: RePEc:dgr:kubcen:200034

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    Related research

    Keywords: Environmental policy; majority voting; endogenous fiscal structure; income distribution; overlapping generations; growth;

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    References

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    1. Smulders, J.A. & Gradus, R.H.J.M., 1993. "Pollution abatement and long-term growth," Discussion Paper 1993-73, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    2. Osborne, Martin J & Slivinski, Al, 1996. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 65-96, February.
    3. Bovenberg, A.L. & Mooij, R.A. de, 1997. "Environmental tax reforms and endogenous growth," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-74434, Tilburg University.
    4. Smulders, J.A. & Gradus, R.H.J.M., 1993. "The trade-off between environmental care and long-term growth: Pollution in three proto-type growth models," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-153405, Tilburg University.
    5. Peter Gottschalk & Timothy M. Smeeding, 1997. "Cross-National Comparisons of Earnings and Income Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 633-687, June.
    6. Bovenberg, A.L. & Smulders, J.A., 1996. "Transitional impacts of environmental policy in an endogenous growth model," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-73103, Tilburg University.
    7. Fredriksson, Per G., 1997. "The Political Economy of Pollution Taxes in a Small Open Economy," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 44-58, May.
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    11. Søren Nielsen & Lars Pedersen & Peter Sørensen, 1995. "Environmental policy, pollution, unemployment, and endogenous growth," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 185-205, August.
    12. Ligthart, J.E. & Ploeg, F. van der, 1994. "Pollution, the cost of public funds and endogenous growth," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-376258, Tilburg University.
    13. Eric O'N. Fisher & Charles van Marrewijk, 1998. "Pollution and economic growth," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(1), pages 55-69.
    14. Kahn, Matthew E & Matsusaka, John G, 1997. "Demand for Environmental Goods: Evidence from Voting Patterns on California Initiatives," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(1), pages 137-73, April.
    15. John, A & Pecchenino, R, 1994. "An Overlapping Generations Model of Growth and the Environment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(427), pages 1393-1410, November.
    16. Marsiliani, Laura & Renstrom, Thomas I, 2000. "Time Inconsistency in Environmental Policy: Tax Earmarking as a Commitment Solution," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C123-38, March.
    17. Ploeg, F. van der & Withagen, C.A.A.M., 1991. "Pollution control and the Ramsey problem," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3107039, Tilburg University.
    18. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
    19. Galor, Oded & Zang, Hyoungsoo, 1997. "Fertility, income distribution, and economic growth: Theory and cross-country evidence," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 197-229, May.
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    21. Persson, T. & Tabellini, G., 1993. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth," Papers 537, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
    22. Renstrom, Thomas I, 1996. "Endogenous Taxation: An Overlapping Generations Approach," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(435), pages 471-82, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:
    1. David Pearce & Charles Palmer, 2001. "Public and private spending for environmental protection: a cross-country policy analysis," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 22(4), pages 403-456, December.
    2. Hubert Kempf & Stéphane Rossignol, 2006. "Is inequality harmful for the environment in a growing economy ?," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00117046, HAL.
    3. Laura Marsiliani & Thomas I. Renström, 2003. "Environmental Policy and Capital Movements: The Role of Government Commitment," Working Papers 2003.4, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    4. Marsiliani, Laura & Renström, Thomas I, 2003. "Inequality, Environmental Protection and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 3754, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Laura Marsiliani & Thomas I Renstrom, 2005. "Political Institutions, Environmental Policy and Growth," Money Macro and Finance (MMF) Research Group Conference 2005 38, Money Macro and Finance Research Group.
    6. Hubert Kempf & Stéphane Rossignol, 2006. "Is inequality harmful for the environment in a growing economy ?," Post-Print halshs-00117046, HAL.
    7. Marsiliani, Laura & Renström, Thomas I, 2003. "On Income Inequality and Green Preferences," CEPR Discussion Papers 3677, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Laura Marsiliani & Thomas Renstrom, 2002. "On Income Inequality and Green Preferences," Wallis Working Papers WP30, University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy.
    9. Eriksson, Clas & Persson, Joakim, 2002. "Economic Growth, Inequality, Democratization, and the Environment," Working Paper Series 178, Trade Union Institute for Economic Research.
    10. Bousquet, Alain & Favard, Pascal, 2000. "Does S. Kuznets' Belief Question the Environment Kuznets Curves?," IDEI Working Papers 107, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    11. Laura Marsiliani & Thomas Renstrom, 2002. "Inequality, Environmental Protection and Growth," Wallis Working Papers WP35, University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy.
    12. Marsiliani, Laura & Renström, Thomas I, 2003. "Environmental Policy and Capital Movements: The Role of Government Commitment," CEPR Discussion Papers 3727, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    13. Laura Marsiliani & Thomas Renstrom, 2002. "Environmental Policy and Capital Movements: The Role of Government Commitment," Wallis Working Papers WP31, University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy.

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