Health benefits of tunneling through the Chinese environmental Kuznets curve (EKC)
In this paper, we first add to what is a growing literature on the existence and nature of the environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) model for developing countries, by testing for the existence of an EKC for China using a panel data set of city-specific, annual ambient levels of SO2 pollution. We find some support for both the typical inverted-U-shaped relationship and an N-shaped, cubic configuration. More significantly, we then explore the possibility of China's "tunneling" through the EKC, by using newer, cleaner technologies, and thereby avoiding some of the environmental degradation that had often accompanied economic growth. Specifically, we estimate and economically value the health benefits realizable to Chinese cities from successful efforts to "tunnel" under the EKC over the next generation.
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