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The income-pollution relationship and the role of income distribution Evidence from Swedish household data

  • Brännlund, Runar

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Umeå University)

  • Ghalwash, Tarek

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Umeå University)

The main purpose of this study is to analyze the relationship between pollution and income at household level. The study is motivated by the recent literature emphasizing the importanceof income distribution for the aggregate relation between pollution and income. The main findings from previous studies are that if the individual pollution-income relationship is nonlinear, then aggregate pollution for, say, a whole country, will depend not only on average income, but also on how income is distributed. To achieve our objective we formulate a model for determining the choice of consumption of goods in different types of household. Furthermore we link the demand model to emission functions for the various goods. The theoretical analysis shows that without imposing very restrictive assumptions on preferences and the emission functions, it is not possible to determine a priori the slope or the curvature of the pollution-income relation. The empirical analysis shows that, given the model used, thepollution-income relation has a positive slope in Sweden and is strictly concave for all three pollutants under study (CO2, SO2, NOx), at least in the neighborhood of the observed income for an average household. Further, the results show that the curvature of the relation differs between different types of households. We also show that altering the prevailing income distribution, holding average income constant, will affect aggregate emissions in the sense that an equalization of incomes will give rise to an increase in emissions. One implication is then that the development of aggregate pollution due to growth depends not only on the income level, but also on how growth is distributed.

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Paper provided by Umeå University, Department of Economics in its series Umeå Economic Studies with number 677.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 05 May 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:umnees:0677
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Umeå University, S-901 87 Umeå, Sweden
Phone: 090 - 786 61 42
Fax: 090 - 77 23 02
Web page: http://www.econ.umu.se/
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  1. James Banks & Richard Blundell & Arthur Lewbel, 1997. "Quadratic Engel Curves And Consumer Demand," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(4), pages 527-539, November.
  2. Gene M. Grossman & Alan B. Krueger, 1994. "Economic Growth and the Environment," NBER Working Papers 4634, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Deaton, Angus S & Muellbauer, John, 1980. "An Almost Ideal Demand System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 312-26, June.
  4. Gene M. Grossman & Alan B. Krueger, 1991. "Environmental Impacts of a North American Free Trade Agreement," NBER Working Papers 3914, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Heerink, Nico & Mulatu, Abay & Bulte, Erwin, 2001. "Income inequality and the environment: aggregation bias in environmental Kuznets curves," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 359-367, September.
  6. Theodore Panayotou, 2000. "Economic Growth and the Environment," CID Working Papers 56, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  7. James Andreoni & Arik Levinson, 1998. "The Simple Analytics of the Environmental Kuznets Curve," NBER Working Papers 6739, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Bimonte, Salvatore, 2002. "Information access, income distribution, and the Environmental Kuznets Curve," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 145-156, April.
  9. Stern , David I., 1998. "Progress on the environmental Kuznets curve?," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(02), pages 173-196, May.
  10. Selden Thomas M. & Song Daqing, 1995. "Neoclassical Growth, the J Curve for Abatement, and the Inverted U Curve for Pollution," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 162-168, September.
  11. Ghalwash, Tarek, 2006. "Demand for Environmental Quality: An Empirical Analysis of Consumer Behavior in Sweden," Umeå Economic Studies 676, Umeå University, Department of Economics.
  12. Lopez Ramon, 1994. "The Environment as a Factor of Production: The Effects of Economic Growth and Trade Liberalization," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 163-184, September.
  13. McDonald, James B, 1984. "Some Generalized Functions for the Size Distribution of Income," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 647-63, May.
  14. McCONNELL, KENNETH E., 1997. "Income and the demand for environmental quality," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(04), pages 383-399, November.
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