IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Population size and environmental quality


  • Till Requate

    () (Interdisciplinary Institute of Environmental Economics, University of Heidelberg, D-69117 Heidelberg, Germany)

  • Mark B. Cronshaw

    () (Environment and Behavior Program - Institute of Behavioral Science and The Economics Institute, 1030 13th Street, Boulder, CO 80302, USA)


This paper presents a simple general equilibrium analysis of first best allocations in an economy where a consumption good is produced using labor. Production results in pollution, which is a public bad. Pollution abatement can be achieved either by restricting production or by using additional labor. We consider how the first best allocation and Pigouvian tax vary with population size. Consumers are unambiguously worse off when the population is larger, but not necessarily due to increased pollution. In fact, optimal policy on how pollution and labor should vary with population size is very sensitive to preferences and technology. The best response to an increase in population size might be either to increase or to decrease emissions and/or labor, depending on functional forms and parameters. However, given separable preferences and some convexity, the optimal emissions tax increases, and the first best level of per-capita consumption decreases with population size. The paper also considers the extent to which exogenous technical progress can overturn these conclusions.

Suggested Citation

  • Till Requate & Mark B. Cronshaw, 1997. "Population size and environmental quality," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 10(3), pages 299-316.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:10:y:1997:i:3:p:299-316
    Note: Received August 28, 1996 / Accepted January 27, 1997

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted

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

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lawrence F. Katz & Gary W. Loveman & David G. Blanchflower, 1993. "A Comparison of Changes in the Structure of Wages," NBER Working Papers 4297, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. repec:bla:scotjp:v:64:y:2017:i:3:p:263-282 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Jöst, Frank & Quaas, Martin F., 2010. "Environmental and population externalities," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(01), pages 1-19, February.
    3. Andreas Schaefer, 2016. "Survival to Adulthood and the Growth Drag of Pollution," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 16/241, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
    4. Phu NGUYEN VAN, 2002. "Endogenous Population and Environmental Quality," Working Papers of BETA 2002-09, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.

    More about this item


    First best allocation · emission tax · Pigouvian tax · population size;

    JEL classification:

    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy


    Access and download statistics


    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:spr:jopoec:v:10:y:1997:i:3:p:299-316. 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: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.

    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.