Legal origin and the evolution of environmental quality
We extend the empirical literature on the environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) by showing the legal origin matters for the evolution of environmental quality. Using observations of ambient sulfur dioxide levels, we find that the EKC for French and British legal origin countries diverge as incomes rise, with the EKC for French legal origin countries lying significantly below that for countries of British legal origin. This finding is robust to the inclusion of proxies for democracy and corruption, the institutional variables emphasized in the current EKC literature. Our results are consistent with the idea that the British common law tradition places a greater emphasis on private relative to collective property rights.
Volume (Year): 31 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
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