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Is Inequality Harmful for the Environment in a Growing Economy?

  • Hubert Kempf

    (Université Paris-1 Panthéon Sorbonne)

  • Stéphane Rossignol

    (Université de Versailles, and EUREQua Université Paris-1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)

In this paper we investigate the relationship between inequality and the environment in a growing economy from a political economy perspective. We consider an endogenous growth economy, where growth generates pollution and a deterioration of the environment. Public expenditures may either be devoted to supporting growth or abating pollution. The decision over the public programs is done in a direct democracy, with simple majority rule. We prove that the median voter is decisive and show that inequality is harmful for the environment: the poorer the median voter relative to the average individual, the less she will tax and devote resources to the environment, preferring to support growth.

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Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2005.5.

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Date of creation: Jan 2005
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Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2005.5
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  1. Earnhart, Dietrich, 1997. "Enforcement of Environmental Protection Laws under Communism and Democracy," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(2), pages 377-402, October.
  2. Kahn, Matthew E & Matsusaka, John G, 1997. "Demand for Environmental Goods: Evidence from Voting Patterns on California Initiatives," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(1), pages 137-73, April.
  3. James Andreoni & Arik Levinson, 1998. "The Simple Analytics of the Environmental Kuznets Curve," NBER Working Papers 6739, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Rodrik, Dani & Alesina, Alberto, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," Scholarly Articles 4551798, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Torras, Mariano & Boyce, James K., 1998. "Income, inequality, and pollution: a reassessment of the environmental Kuznets Curve," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 147-160, May.
  6. Barro, Robert J., 1990. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogeneous Growth," Scholarly Articles 3451296, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. van Marrewijk, Charles & van der Ploeg, Federick & Verbeek, Jos, 1993. "Is growth bad for the environment? Pollution, abatement, and endogenous growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1151, The World Bank.
  8. Perotti, Roberto, 1996. "Growth, Income Distribution, and Democracy: What the Data Say," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 149-87, June.
  9. Hubert Kempf & Stéphane Rossignol, 2005. "Growth, inequality and integration: a political economy analysis," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00177256, HAL.
  10. Magnani, Elisabetta, 2000. "The Environmental Kuznets Curve, environmental protection policy and income distribution," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 431-443, March.
  11. Krusell, Per & Quadrini, Vincenzo & Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 1997. "Politico-economic equilibrium and economic growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 243-272, January.
  12. Aghion, Philippe & Caroli, Eve & Garcia-Penalosa, Cecilia, 1999. "Inequality and economic growth: the perspective of the new growth theories," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9908, CEPREMAP.
  13. Beverly Hirtle, 2008. "Credit derivatives and bank credit supply," Staff Reports 276, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  14. Roberts, Kevin W. S., 1977. "Voting over income tax schedules," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 329-340, December.
  15. Fiaschi, Davide, 1999. "Growth and inequality in an endogenous fiscal policy model with taxes on labor and capital," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 727-746, November.
  16. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
  17. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-490.
  18. Larry E. Jones & Rodolfo E. Manuelli, 2000. "Endogenous policy choice: the case of pollution and growth," Staff Report 276, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  19. Marsiliani, L. & Renstrom, T.I., 2000. "Inequality, Environmental Protection and Growth," Discussion Paper 2000-34, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
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