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Economic prosperity, biodiversity conservation, and the environmental Kuznets curve

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  • Mills, Julianne H.
  • Waite, Thomas A.

Abstract

Many conservationists contend that economic growth and biodiversity conservation are incompatible goals. Some economists contest this viewpoint, arguing that wealthier countries have the luxury of investing more heavily in efforts to conserve biodiversity. Under this assumption, we expect a U-shaped relationship between per capita wealth and proportion of species conserved. We test this environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) using estimates of per capita income and deforestation rates (index of biodiversity threat) for 35 tropical countries. A prior analysis [Dietz, S., Adger, W.N., 2003. Economic growth, biodiversity loss and conservation effort. Journal of Environmental Management, 68:23-35] using conventional regression techniques failed to provide any support for the parabolic relationship predicted by the EKC hypothesis. Here, we introduce the use of quantile regression and spatial filtering to reanalyze this data, addressing issues of heteroskedasticity and spatial autocorrelation. We note that preliminary analysis using these methods provides some initial evidence for an EKC. However, a series of panel analyses with country-specific dummy variables eliminated or even reversed much of this support. A closer examination of conservation practices and environmental indicators within the countries, particularly those countries that drove our initial support, suggests that wealth is not a reliable indicator of improved conservation practice. Our findings indicate that an EKC for biodiversity is overly simplistic and further exploration is required to fully understand the mechanisms by which income affects biodiversity.

Suggested Citation

  • Mills, Julianne H. & Waite, Thomas A., 2009. "Economic prosperity, biodiversity conservation, and the environmental Kuznets curve," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 2087-2095, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:68:y:2009:i:7:p:2087-2095
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ariane Manuela Amin, 2012. "What Drives Biodiversity Conservation Effort in the Developing World? An analysis for Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers halshs-00722081, HAL.
    2. Qin, Xuezheng & Hsieh, Chee-Ruey, 2014. "Economic growth and the geographic maldistribution of health care resources: Evidence from China, 1949-2010," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 228-246.
    3. Ariane Amin & Johanna Choumert, 2015. "Development and biodiversity conservation in Sub-Saharan Africa: A spatial analysis," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 35(1), pages 729-744.
    4. Gren, Ing-Marie & Campos, Monica & Gustafsson, Lena & Elofsson, Katarina, 2013. "Species Imperilment on the Global Scale: Empirical evidences of economic causes," Working Paper Series 2013:7, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department Economics.
    5. Pei-Ing Wu & Je-Liang Liou & Hung-Yi Chang, 2015. "Alternative exploration of EKC for $$\hbox {CO}_{2}$$ CO 2 emissions: inclusion of meta-technical ratio in quantile regression model," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 49(1), pages 57-73, January.
    6. Kazi Sohag & Rawshan Begum & Sharifah Abdullah, 2015. "Dynamic impact of household consumption on its CO 2 emissions in Malaysia," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 17(5), pages 1031-1043, October.
    7. Niu, Shuwen & Liu, Yiyue & Ding, Yongxia & Qu, Wei, 2016. "China׳s energy systems transformation and emissions peak," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 782-795.
    8. Hübler, Michael, 2017. "The inequality-emissions nexus in the context of trade and development: A quantile regression approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 174-185.
    9. repec:eee:rensus:v:78:y:2017:i:c:p:868-877 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Klodiana Gorica & Dorina Kripa & Engjellushe Zenela, 2012. "The Role of Local Government in Sustainable Development," Acta Universitatis Danubius. OEconomica, Danubius University of Galati, issue 2(2), pages 139-155, April.
    11. Begum, Rawshan Ara & Sohag, Kazi & Abdullah, Sharifah Mastura Syed & Jaafar, Mokhtar, 2015. "CO2 emissions, energy consumption, economic and population growth in Malaysia," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 594-601.
    12. Charles Palmer & Salvatore Di Falco, 2012. "Biodiversity, poverty, and development," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(1), pages 48-68, Spring.
    13. Zsofia Benedek & Imre Ferto, 2013. "Development and application of a new Forestation Index: global forestation patterns and drivers," IEHAS Discussion Papers 1326, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
    14. Ge, Xiaodong & Li, Yaoguang & Luloff, Albert E. & Dong, Kaikai & Xiao, Jun, 2015. "Effect of agricultural economic growth on sandy desertification in Horqin Sandy Land," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 53-63.
    15. Wajahat Ali & Azrai Abdullah & Muhammad Azam, 2016. "The Dynamic Linkage between Technological Innovation and carbon dioxide emissions in Malaysia: An Autoregressive Distributed Lagged Bound Approach," International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy, Econjournals, vol. 6(3), pages 389-400.
    16. Iritie, Jean-Jacques, 2015. "Economic Growth, Biodiversity and Conservation Policies in Africa: an Overview," MPRA Paper 62005, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Charles Perrings & George Halkos, 2012. "Who Cares about Biodiversity? Optimal Conservation and Transboundary Biodiversity Externalities," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 52(4), pages 585-608, August.
    18. Song, Ma-Lin & Zhang, Wei & Wang, Shu-Hong, 2013. "Inflection point of environmental Kuznets curve in Mainland China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 14-20.
    19. Mills Busa, Julianne H., 2013. "Dynamite in the EKC tunnel? Inconsistencies in resource stock analysis under the environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 116-126.
    20. Sami Chaabouni, 2016. "Modeling and forecasting 3E in Eastern Asia: a comparison of linear and nonlinear models," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 50(5), pages 1993-2008, September.
    21. You, Wan-Hai & Zhu, Hui-Ming & Yu, Keming & Peng, Cheng, 2015. "Democracy, Financial Openness, and Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions: Heterogeneity Across Existing Emission Levels," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 189-207.
    22. Menegaki, Angeliki N. & Tsagarakis, Konstantinos P., 2015. "Rich enough to go renewable, but too early to leave fossil energy?," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 1465-1477.

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