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Does the Environmental Kuznets Curve Describe How Individual Countries Behave?

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  • Deacon, Robert
  • Norman, Catherine S

Abstract

The environmental Kuznets curve (EKC), an inverted-U relationship between pollution and income, is an influential generalization about the way environmental quality changes as a country makes the transition from poverty to relative affluence. The EKC predicts that pollution will first increase, but subsequently decline if income growth proceeds far enough. We examine within-country time series data on air pollution and income for a sample of individual countries to see if this generalized prediction is commonly borne out. The empirical approach employs robust, nonparametric methods and a recently available data set on SO2, smoke, and particulate air pollution. In most cases examined, the within-country income-pollution patterns we observe do not differ significantly from what would be expected to occur by chance. Where income-pollution relationships are consistent with EKC predictions, the patterns involved are also consistent with a much simpler hypothesis.

Suggested Citation

  • Deacon, Robert & Norman, Catherine S, 2004. "Does the Environmental Kuznets Curve Describe How Individual Countries Behave?," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt6gm8164w, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:ucsbec:qt6gm8164w
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    environmental Kuznets curve; environment and development; air pollution;

    JEL classification:

    • Q20 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - General
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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