IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/oup/renvpo/v4y2010i1p3-23.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Environmental Kuznets Curve: Seeking Empirical Regularity and Theoretical Structure

Author

Listed:
  • Richard T. Carson

Abstract

In the early 1990s the attention of economists was captured by empirical evidence suggesting that rising income levels in developing countries could be good rather than bad for the environment. This evidence drove a stake into the heart of those opposing growth on environmental grounds. Ultimately, the view that income growth by itself eventually will be good for the environment also appears to be wrong because a causal relationship between income and environmental quality cannot be demonstrated. The original empirical estimates appear fragile at best compared to estimates using more representative datasets, higher-quality data, and more appropriate econometric techniques. More plausible explanations for the observed data revolve around good government, effective regulation, and diffusion of technological change. These factors tend to be related in a diffuse manner with higher income and suggest it is likely, but not inevitable, that a society will choose to reduce pollution levels as it becomes wealthier. Copyright 2010, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard T. Carson, 2010. "The Environmental Kuznets Curve: Seeking Empirical Regularity and Theoretical Structure," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 4(1), pages 3-23, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:renvpo:v:4:y:2010:i:1:p:3-23
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/reep/rep021
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lopez Ramon, 1994. "The Environment as a Factor of Production: The Effects of Economic Growth and Trade Liberalization," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 163-184, September.
    2. de Bruyn, S. M. & van den Bergh, J. C. J. M. & Opschoor, J. B., 1998. "Economic growth and emissions: reconsidering the empirical basis of environmental Kuznets curves," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 161-175, May.
    3. Lucas W. Davis, 2008. "The Effect of Driving Restrictions on Air Quality in Mexico City," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(1), pages 38-81, February.
    4. Brian R. Copeland & M. Scott Taylor, 2004. "Trade, Growth, and the Environment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(1), pages 7-71, March.
    5. Brock, William A. & Taylor, M. Scott, 2005. "Economic Growth and the Environment: A Review of Theory and Empirics," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 28, pages 1749-1821, Elsevier.
    6. Robert T. Deacon & Catherine S. Norman, 2006. "Does the Environmental Kuznets Curve Describe How Individual Countries Behave?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 82(2), pages 291-315.
    7. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Selden, Thomas M., 1995. "Stoking the fires? CO2 emissions and economic growth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 85-101, May.
    8. William T. Harbaugh & Arik Levinson & David Molloy Wilson, 2002. "Reexamining The Empirical Evidence For An Environmental Kuznets Curve," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 541-551, August.
    9. Auffhammer, Maximilian & Bento, Antonio M. & Lowe, Scott E., 2007. "Measuring the Effects of Environmental Regulations: The Critical Importance of a Spatially Disaggregated Analysis," CUDARE Working Papers 6088, University of California, Berkeley, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
    10. Robert J. Barro, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-443.
    11. Andreoni, James & Levinson, Arik, 2001. "The simple analytics of the environmental Kuznets curve," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 269-286, May.
    12. Stern, David I., 2004. "The Rise and Fall of the Environmental Kuznets Curve," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(8), pages 1419-1439, August.
    13. Arik Levinson & M. Scott Taylor, 2008. "Unmasking The Pollution Haven Effect," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(1), pages 223-254, February.
    14. Cavlovic, Therese A. & Baker, Kenneth H. & Berrens, Robert P. & Gawande, Kishore, 2000. "A Meta-Analysis of Environmental Kuznets Curve Studies," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 29(1), pages 32-42, April.
    15. Suri, Vivek & Chapman, Duane, 1998. "Economic growth, trade and energy: implications for the environmental Kuznets curve," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 195-208, May.
    16. List, John A. & Gallet, Craig A., 1999. "The environmental Kuznets curve: does one size fit all?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 409-423, December.
    17. John, A & Pecchenino, R, 1994. "An Overlapping Generations Model of Growth and the Environment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(427), pages 1393-1410, November.
    18. Grossman, G.M & Krueger, A.B., 1991. "Environmental Impacts of a North American Free Trade Agreement," Papers 158, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
    19. Robert T. Deacon & Sarani Saha, 2006. "Public Good Provision by Dictatorship: A Survey," Chapters, in: Attiat F. Ott & Richard J. Cebula (ed.), The Elgar Companion to Public Economics, chapter 6, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    20. Selden Thomas M. & Song Daqing, 1994. "Environmental Quality and Development: Is There a Kuznets Curve for Air Pollution Emissions?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 147-162, September.
    21. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:14:y:2005:i:1:p:1-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Auffhammer, Maximilian & Carson, Richard T., 2008. "Forecasting the path of China's CO2 emissions using province-level information," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 229-247, May.
    23. Robert M. Solow, 1973. "Is the End of the World at Hand?," Challenge, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(1), pages 39-50, March.
    24. York, Richard & Rosa, Eugene A. & Dietz, Thomas, 2003. "STIRPAT, IPAT and ImPACT: analytic tools for unpacking the driving forces of environmental impacts," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 351-365, October.
    25. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
    26. Panayotou, Theodore, 1997. "Demystifying the environmental Kuznets curve: turning a black box into a policy tool," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(4), pages 465-484, November.
    27. Cole, Matthew A., 2004. "Trade, the pollution haven hypothesis and the environmental Kuznets curve: examining the linkages," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 71-81, January.
    28. Susmita Dasgupta & Benoit Laplante & Hua Wang & David Wheeler, 2002. "Confronting the Environmental Kuznets Curve," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(1), pages 147-168, Winter.
    29. Hettige, Hemamala & Lucas, Robert E B & Wheeler, David, 1992. "The Toxic Intensity of Industrial Production: Global Patterns, Trends, and Trade Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 478-481, May.
    30. 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.
    31. Jones, L.E., 1995. "A Positive Model of Growth and Pollution Controls," Working papers 9513, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
    32. Granger, C. W. J., 1980. "Testing for causality : A personal viewpoint," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 329-352, May.
    33. Stokey, Nancy L, 1998. "Are There Limits to Growth?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(1), pages 1-31, February.
    34. Russell, Clifford S., 2001. "Applying Economics to the Environment," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195126846.
    35. Arrow, Kenneth & Bolin, Bert & Costanza, Robert & Dasgupta, Partha & Folke, Carl & Holling, C.S. & Jansson, Bengt-Owe & Levin, Simon & Mäler, Karl-Göran & Perrings, Charles & Pimentel, David, 1996. "Economic growth, carrying capacity, and the environment," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(1), pages 104-110, February.
    36. Nordhaus, William D, 1973. "World Dynamics: Measurement Without Data," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 83(332), pages 1156-1183, December.
    37. John A. List & Aart de Zeeuw (ed.), 2002. "Recent Advances in Environmental Economics," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 2728.
    38. Roger Perman & David I. Stern, 2003. "Evidence from panel unit root and cointegration tests that the Environmental Kuznets Curve does not exist," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 47(3), pages 325-347, September.
    39. Grossman, Gene M. & Krueger, Alan B., 1996. "The inverted-U: what does it mean?," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(1), pages 119-122, February.
    40. Stern, David I. & Common, Michael S. & Barbier, Edward B., 1996. "Economic growth and environmental degradation: The environmental Kuznets curve and sustainable development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(7), pages 1151-1160, July.
    41. Costanza, Robert, 1995. "Economic growth, carrying capacity, and the environment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 89-90, November.
    42. Dinda, Soumyananda, 2004. "Environmental Kuznets Curve Hypothesis: A Survey," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 431-455, August.
    43. Vincent, Jeffrey R., 1997. "Testing for environmental Kuznets curves within a developing country," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(4), pages 417-431, November.
    44. McCONNELL, KENNETH E., 1997. "Income and the demand for environmental quality," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(4), pages 383-399, July.
    45. Pethig, Rudiger, 1976. "Pollution, welfare, and environmental policy in the theory of Comparative Advantage," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 160-169, February.
    46. Panayotou T., 1993. "Empirical tests and policy analysis of environmental degradation at different stages of economic development," ILO Working Papers 992927783402676, International Labour Organization.
    47. Shafik, Nemat, 1994. "Economic Development and Environmental Quality: An Econometric Analysis," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(0), pages 757-773, Supplemen.
    48. Cropper, Maureen & Griffiths, Charles, 1994. "The Interaction of Population Growth and Environmental Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 250-254, May.
    49. Shafik, Nemat & Bandyopadhyay, Sushenjit, 1992. "Economic growth and environmental quality : time series and cross-country evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 904, The World Bank.
    50. Barrett, Scott & Graddy, Kathryn, 2000. "Freedom, growth, and the environment," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(4), pages 433-456, October.
    51. repec:clg:wpaper:2008-02 is not listed on IDEAS
    52. James A. Tobey, 1990. "The Effects of Domestic Environmental Policies on Patterns of World Trade: An Empirical Test," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(2), pages 191-209, May.
    53. Lopez, Ramon & Mitra, Siddhartha, 2000. "Corruption, Pollution, and the Kuznets Environment Curve," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 137-150, September.
    54. repec:cdl:agrebk:360653 is not listed on IDEAS
    55. Selden Thomas M. & Song Daqing, 1995. "Neoclassical Growth, the J Curve for Abatement, and the Inverted U Curve for Pollution," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 162-168, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Carson, Richard T, 2009. "Searching for Empirical Regularity and Theoretical Structure: The Environmental Kuznets Curve," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt4m6263c2, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
    2. Dinda, Soumyananda, 2004. "Environmental Kuznets Curve Hypothesis: A Survey," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 431-455, August.
    3. Jie He, 2007. "Is the Environmental Kuznets Curve hypothesis valid for developing countries? A survey," Cahiers de recherche 07-03, Departement d'Economique de l'École de gestion à l'Université de Sherbrooke.
    4. Roxana Pincheira & Felipe Zuniga, 2021. "Environmental Kuznets curve bibliographic map: a systematic literature review," Accounting and Finance, Accounting and Finance Association of Australia and New Zealand, vol. 61(S1), pages 1931-1956, April.
    5. Stern, David I., 2004. "The Rise and Fall of the Environmental Kuznets Curve," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(8), pages 1419-1439, August.
    6. Valeria Costantini & Chiara Martini, 2010. "A Modified Environmental Kuznets Curve for sustainable development assessment using panel data," International Journal of Global Environmental Issues, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 10(1/2), pages 84-122.
    7. He, Jie & Richard, Patrick, 2010. "Environmental Kuznets curve for CO2 in Canada," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(5), pages 1083-1093, March.
    8. Brian R. Copeland & M. Scott Taylor, 2004. "Trade, Growth, and the Environment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(1), pages 7-71, March.
    9. Onafowora, Olugbenga A. & Owoye, Oluwole, 2014. "Bounds testing approach to analysis of the environment Kuznets curve hypothesis," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 47-62.
    10. Stern, David I., 2014. "The Environmental Kuznets Curve: A Primer," Working Papers 249424, Australian National University, Centre for Climate Economics & Policy.
    11. Faridul, Islam & Muhammad, Shahbaz, 2012. "Is There an Environmental Kuznets Curve for Bangladesh?," MPRA Paper 38490, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 30 Apr 2012.
    12. Halkos, George, 2011. "Environment and economic development: determinants of an EKC hypothesis," MPRA Paper 33262, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Simone Marsiglio & Alberto Ansuategi & Maria Carmen Gallastegui, 2016. "The Environmental Kuznets Curve and the Structural Change Hypothesis," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 63(2), pages 265-288, February.
    14. Xiaosheng Li & Xia Yan & Qingxian An & Ke Chen & Zhen Shen, 2016. "The coordination between China’s economic growth and environmental emission from the Environmental Kuznets Curve viewpoint," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 83(1), pages 233-252, August.
    15. Pascalau, Razvan & Qirjo, Dhimitri, 2017. "TTIP and the Environmental Kuznets Curve," MPRA Paper 80192, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. J., AZNAR-MARQUEZ & Jose-Ramon, RUIZ-TAMARIT, 2005. "Demographic Transition Environmental Concern and the Kuznets Curve," Discussion Papers (ECON - Département des Sciences Economiques) 2005001, Université catholique de Louvain, Département des Sciences Economiques.
    17. Halkos, George & Paizanos, Epameinondas, 2015. "Environmental Macroeconomics: A critical literature review and future empirical research directions," MPRA Paper 67432, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Chiara Martini, 2006. "The Environmental Kuznets Curve," QA - Rivista dell'Associazione Rossi-Doria, Associazione Rossi Doria, issue 3, July.
    19. Auci, Sabrina & Becchetti, Leonardo, 2006. "The instability of the adjusted and unadjusted environmental Kuznets curves," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 282-298, November.
    20. David I. Stern, 2017. "The environmental Kuznets curve after 25 years," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 7-28, April.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:renvpo:v:4:y:2010:i:1:p:3-23. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aereeea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Oxford University Press (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aereeea.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.