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Socioeconomic Factors and Water Quality in California

  • Y. Hossein Farzin

    (Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California)

  • Kelly A. Grogan

    (Food and Resource Economics Department, University of Florida)

We investigate the relationships between water quality and socioeconomic factors in California at the county level for the years 1993 to 2006 using 24 water quality indicators coming from seven different types of water bodies. We estimate these relationships using three classes of models: the traditional per capita income-pollution level - Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) - specifications, a more inclusive model containing main socioeconomic variables such as agricultural intensity, land use, ethnic composition, population density and educational attainment, and a model that includes the socioeconomic variables while accounting for spatial correlations too. For most water quality indicators, we do not find support for EKC specifications. For pollutants like phosphorus and total suspended solids, the level of agricultural activity is a significant determinant of water quality in California, but for other surface water pollutants commonly considered agricultural pollutants, such as ammonia and nitrate, the level of agricultural activity is not statistically significant. We find that education, ethnic composition, age structure, land use, population density, and water area are all significantly correlated with various indicators of water quality.

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Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2011.51.

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Date of creation: Jul 2011
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Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2011.51
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  1. David M. Konisky & Jeffrey Milyo & Lilliard E. Richardson, 2008. "Environmental Policy Attitudes: Issues, Geographical Scale, and Political Trust," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1066-1085.
  2. Grossman, Gene M & Krueger, Alan B, 1995. "Economic Growth and the Environment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(2), pages 353-77, May.
  3. Krishna Paudel & Mark Schafer, 2009. "The Environmental Kuznets Curve Under a New Framework: The Role of Social Capital in Water Pollution," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 42(2), pages 265-278, February.
  4. Anton Nahman & Geoff Antrobus, 2005. "The Environmental Kuznets Curve: A Literature Survey," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 73(1), pages 105-120, 03.
  5. Kyoko Fukukawa & William Shafer & Grace Lee, 2007. "Values and Attitudes Toward Social and Environmental Accountability: a Study of MBA Students," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 71(4), pages 381-394, April.
  6. Farzin, Y. Hossein & Bond, Craig A., 2006. "Democracy and environmental quality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 213-235, October.
  7. Tetsuya Tsurumi & Shunsuke Managi, 2010. "Decomposition of the environmental Kuznets curve: scale, technique, and composition effects," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 11(1), pages 19-36, February.
  8. Krishna Paudel & Hector Zapata & Dwi Susanto, 2005. "An Empirical Test of Environmental Kuznets Curve for Water Pollution," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 31(3), pages 325-348, 07.
  9. Galeotti, Marzio & Lanza, Alessandro & Pauli, Francesco, 2006. "Reassessing the environmental Kuznets curve for CO2 emissions: A robustness exercise," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 152-163, April.
  10. Khanna, Neha & Plassmann, Florenz, 2004. "The demand for environmental quality and the environmental Kuznets Curve hypothesis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3-4), pages 225-236, December.
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