The Environmental Impact of Poverty: Evidence from Firewood Collection in Rural Nepal
We investigate determinants of household firewood collection in rural Nepal, using 1995-96 and 2002-3 World Bank Living Standards Measurement Survey (LSMS) data. We incorporate village fixed effects, endogenous censoring, measurement error in living standards and heterogeneous effects of different household assets. We find no evidence in favor of the poverty-environment hypothesis. The evidence for the environmental Kuznets curve depends on the precise measure of living standards and time period studied. Firewood collections fall with a transition to modern occupations and rise with increasing population and household division. The local interhousehold collection externality is negligible, indicating that policy interventions are justified only by ecological considerations or nonlocal spillovers. (c) 2010 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.
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