The Impact of Power Equality, Income, and the Environment on Human Health: Some Inter-Country Comparisons
Economic studies on environmental degradation generally have a narrow focus on per capita income as an explanatory variable, and often fail to distinguish among the various types of environmental quality or damage. This paper addresses both problems by examining the effect of relative equality in the distribution of power on environmental outcomes, and making a clear distinction between health-related environmental outcomes and so-called 'environmental amenities,' only the latter of which should correlate strongly with income. This paper introduces a national index of power equality that is derived from related socioeconomic variables, and studies its effects on individual country achievement in addressing environmental quality and population health. This model is applied to a data set of 180 countries, as well as to subgroups of the entire country set. Employing disability-adjusted life expectancy and the population child mortality rate as two health proxies, this paper finds that power equality in most cases positively influences population health, and that power equality is in every case no worse and in some cases better than per capita income at explaining population health.
Volume (Year): 20 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
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