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Economic growth and the environment: Theory and facts

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  • Bartz, Sherry
  • Kelly, David L.

Abstract

Several recent papers propose competing theoretical explanations for the empirical observation of an inverted U-shape relationship between environmental degradation and per-capita income. We propose the following test of the theory: calibrate a theoretical model to an already developed economy using information unrelated to the pollution-income curve. Then simulate the model starting from a less developed initial condition and compare the predicted pollution-income relationship with that in the data. Our results are mixed. Some support exists for the theory that the inverted U-shape results from a corner solution in which less developed countries do not abate pollution. However, because we find abatement is relatively inexpensive, the model predicts pollution peaks at a level of per capita income much lower than that observed in our U.S. data. For some pollutants, we find evidence of a structural break in preferences in the early 1970s. When the structural break is added, the model performs better for two of three pollutants.

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  • Bartz, Sherry & Kelly, David L., 2008. "Economic growth and the environment: Theory and facts," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 115-149, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:resene:v:30:y:2008:i:2:p:115-149
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    Cited by:

    1. Barbara Buchner & Carlo Carraro, 2004. "Economic and environmental effectiveness of a technology-based climate protocol," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(3), pages 229-248, September.
    2. La Torre, Davide & Liuzzi, Danilo & Marsiglio, Simone, 2015. "Pollution diffusion and abatement activities across space and over time," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 48-63.
    3. Wei Jin & ZhongXiang Zhang, 2016. "China's pursuit of environmentally sustainable development: Harnessing the new engine of technological innovation," CCEP Working Papers 1601, Centre for Climate Economics & Policy, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    4. David L. Kelly, 2006. "Subsidies to Industry and the Environment," Working Papers 0602, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
    5. Richard S. J. Tol & In Chang Hwang & Frédéric Reynès, 2012. "The Effect of Learning on Climate Policy under Fat-tailed Uncertainty," Working Paper Series 5312, Department of Economics, University of Sussex.
    6. Garth Heutel, 2012. "How Should Environmental Policy Respond to Business Cycles? Optimal Policy under Persistent Productivity Shocks," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 244-264, April.
    7. Arman, Michael & Zuo, Jian & Wilson, Lou & Zillante, George & Pullen, Stephen, 2009. "Challenges of responding to sustainability with implications for affordable housing," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(12), pages 3034-3041, October.
    8. Dragone, Davide & Lambertini, Luca & Palestini, Arsen, 2014. "Regulating Environmental Externalities through Public Firms: A Differential Game," Strategic Behavior and the Environment, now publishers, vol. 4(1), pages 15-40, April.
    9. Arbex, Marcelo & Perobelli, Fernando S., 2010. "Solow meets Leontief: Economic growth and energy consumption," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 43-53, January.
    10. repec:eee:resene:v:48:y:2017:i:c:p:1-18 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Garth Heutel, 2012. "How Should Environmental Policy Respond to Business Cycles? Optimal Policy under Persistent Productivity Shocks," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 244-264, April.
    12. Steven Lugauer & Richard Jensen & Clayton Sadler, 2014. "An Estimate Of The Age Distribution'S Effect On Carbon Dioxide Emissions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(2), pages 914-929, April.
    13. L. Lambertini, 2014. "On the Interplay between Resource Extraction and Polluting Emissions in Oligopoly," Working Papers wp976, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    14. Annicchiarico, Barbara & Di Dio, Fabio, 2015. "Environmental policy and macroeconomic dynamics in a new Keynesian model," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 1-21.
    15. Carlos A. Flores & Alfonso Flores-Lagunes & Dimitrios Kapetanakis, 2014. "Lessons From Quantile Panel Estimation of the Environmental Kuznets Curve," Econometric Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(8), pages 815-853, November.
    16. Linna Chen & Shiyi Chen, 2015. "The Estimation of Environmental Kuznets Curve in China: Nonparametric Panel Approach," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 46(3), pages 405-420, October.
    17. Domingo Nevado-Peña & Víctor-Raúl López-Ruiz & José-Luis Alfaro-Navarro, 2015. "The Effects of Environmental and Social Dimensions of Sustainability in Response to the Economic Crisis of European Cities," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(7), pages 1-15, June.
    18. Du, Limin & Wei, Chu & Cai, Shenghua, 2012. "Economic development and carbon dioxide emissions in China: Provincial panel data analysis," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 371-384.
    19. Kelly, David L. & Tan, Zhuo, 2015. "Learning and climate feedbacks: Optimal climate insurance and fat tails," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 98-122.
    20. Garth Heutel & David L. Kelly, 2016. "Incidence, Environmental, and Welfare Effects of Distortionary Subsidies," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(2), pages 361-415.
    21. Ding, Zhanwen & Wang, Shuxun & Jiang, Shumin, 2013. "Research on a dynamics with bounded rationality for high-carbon and low-carbon energy economic system," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 375-380.
    22. repec:bla:rdevec:v:21:y:2017:i:3:p:786-802 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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