The Political Economy of Environment-Development Relationships: A Preliminary Framework
A growing body of empirical research indicates that several types of pollution seem first to increase as per capita income increases and then to decline. The resulting inverted-U relationship between income and pollution has been christened the 'environmental Kuznets curve.' 1 Research on this topic has largely ignored the fact that pollution control is a public good, provided by government.2 Empirical models typically regress a measure of pollution on income, income squared, and other variables, but omit the form of government as a determinant. As a consequence, the profession can offer no credible insights on the kinds of political reforms that would foster environmental protection in the developing world or on the likely environmental effects of recent trends toward democratization.
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