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Is inequality harmful for the environment in a growing economy ?

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Abstract

In this paper we investigate the relationship between inequality and the environment in a growing economy from a political economy perspective. We consider an endogenous growth economy, where growth generates pollution and a deterioration of the environment. Public expenditures may either be devoted to supporting growth or abating pollution. The decision over the public programs is done in a direct democracy, with simple majority rule. We prove that the median voter is decisive and show that inequality is harmful for the environment : the poorer the median voter relative to the average individual, the less she will tax and devote resources to the environment, preferring to support growth.

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File URL: ftp://mse.univ-paris1.fr/pub/mse/cahiers2006/V06045.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1) in its series Cahiers de la Maison des Sciences Economiques with number v06045.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2005
Date of revision: May 2006
Handle: RePEc:mse:wpsorb:v06045

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Keywords: Inequality; growth; environmental policy; political economy;

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References

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  1. Robert J. Barro, 1988. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," NBER Working Papers 2588, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Alesina, Alberto & Rodrik, Dani, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-90, May.
  3. Beverly Hirtle, 2008. "Credit derivatives and bank credit supply," Staff Reports 276, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  4. James Andreoni & Arik Levinson, 1998. "The Simple Analytics of the Environmental Kuznets Curve," NBER Working Papers 6739, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Larry E. Jones & Rodolfo E. Manuelli, 2000. "Endogenous policy choice: the case of pollution and growth," Staff Report 276, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  6. Roberts, Kevin W. S., 1977. "Voting over income tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 329-340, December.
  7. Aghion, Philippe & Caroli, Eve & García-Peñalosa, Cecilia, 1999. "Inequality and Economic Growth: The Perspective of the New Growth Theories," Scholarly Articles 12502063, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Perotti, Roberto, 1996. " Growth, Income Distribution, and Democracy: What the Data Say," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 149-87, June.
  9. Torras, Mariano & Boyce, James K., 1998. "Income, inequality, and pollution: a reassessment of the environmental Kuznets Curve," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 147-160, May.
  10. 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.
  11. van Marrewijk, Charles & van der Ploeg, Federick & Verbeek, Jos, 1993. "Is growth bad for the environment? Pollution, abatement, and endogenous growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1151, The World Bank.
  12. Marsiliani, L. & Renstrom, T.I., 2000. "Inequality, Environmental Protection and Growth," Discussion Paper 2000-34, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  13. Hubert Kempf & Stéphane Rossignol, 2005. "Growth, Inequality, and Integration: A Political Economy Analysis," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 7(5), pages 709-739, December.
  14. 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.
  15. Krusell, Per & Quadrini, Vincenzo & Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 1997. "Politico-economic equilibrium and economic growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 243-272, January.
  16. Fiaschi, Davide, 1999. "Growth and inequality in an endogenous fiscal policy model with taxes on labor and capital," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 727-746, November.
  17. Magnani, Elisabetta, 2000. "The Environmental Kuznets Curve, environmental protection policy and income distribution," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 431-443, March.
  18. Earnhart, Dietrich, 1997. "Enforcement of Environmental Protection Laws under Communism and Democracy," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(2), pages 377-402, October.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Francesco Vona & Fabrizio Patriarca, 2010. "Income Inequality and the Development of Environmental Technologies," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2010-22, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
  2. Nguyen-Van, Phu & Pham, Thi Kim Cuong, 2013. "Endogenous fiscal policies, environmental quality, and status-seeking behavior," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 32-40.
  3. Anesi, Vincent & De Donder, Philippe, 2008. "Secondary Issues and Party Politics: An Application to Environmental Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 6774, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Francesco Nicolli & Francesco Vona, 2012. "The Evolution of Renewable Energy Policy in OECD Countries: Aggregate Indicators and Determinants," Working Papers 2012.51, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  5. repec:hal:cesptp:halshs-00497463 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. BORISSOV, Kirill & BRECHET, Thierry & LAMBRECHT, Stéphane, 2012. "Environmental maintenance in a dynamic model with heterogenous agents," CORE Discussion Papers 2012008, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  7. Francesco Vona & Francesco Nicolli, 2013. "Energy market liberalisation and renewable energy policies in oecd countries," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2013-10, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
  8. Kempf, Hubert & Rossignol, Stéphane, 2013. "National politics and international agreements," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 93-105.
  9. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/f6h8764enu2lskk9p544jc8op is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Kirill Borissov & Thierry Bréchet & Stéphane Lambrecht, 2012. "Environmental Maintenance in a Dynamic Model with Heterogenous Agents," Working Papers hal-00989799, HAL.

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