The Ups and Downs of the Environmental Kuznets Curve
By now the observation that some pollutants appear to increase and then decrease with economic development has become a widely accepted stylized fact. This paper argues that the fundamental insight of the empirical literature is merely that pollution does not necessarily increase with economic growth, and that the fundamental insight of the theoretical literature is that the observed inverse-U-shaped pollution-income relationship is neither necessary nor sufficient for Pareto-efficient environmental policies. Furthermore, the inverse-U-shaped path is not unique to environmental phenomenon, and may exist wherever a desirable good generates an undesirable side-effect. Finally, all of these points can be made without most of the econometric or theoretical mechanics that fill this literature.
|Date of creation:||08 Jan 2001|
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gueconwpa~00-00-07, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
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NBER Working Papers
6739, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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