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Controverses autour de la courbe environnementale de Kuznets

  • André Meunié

    ()

    (GED, Université Montesquieu-Bordeaux IV)

La multiplication des dégradations écologiques est à l'origine d'un renouvellement profond des débats sur les liens qu'entretiennent croissance et développement. Au début des années 1990, plusieurs études empiriques ont constaté l'existence d'une courbe en cloche entre divers indices de pollution et le niveau de revenu par tête. Ces auteurs lui attribuèrent le nom de « courbe environnementale de Kuznets » à cause de la similitude avec les résultats des travaux de ce dernier. Au-delà d'un certain niveau de richesse, la croissance économique s'accompagnerait d'une amélioration de l'état de l'environnement. Une stratégie économique soutenable consisterait alors à atteindre dans les meilleurs délais ce seuil pour ensuite continuer à s'enrichir « proprement ». Cependant, non seulement cette courbe n'est décelée que pour quelques polluants aux effets localisés, mais même dans ce cas, de nombreuses critiques méthodologiques fragilisent la portée de ces résultats. Il est donc abusif de vouloir en faire un fait stylisé du développement et d'autres voies de recherche doivent être explorées. The growing consciousness about environmental problem has renovated deeply the debate on the relations between economic growth and development. At the beginning of the 1990's, some empirical studies have brought to light the existence of an inverted U-shape relation between various environmental indicators and the level of income per capita. This phenomenon has been called the « environmental Kuznets curve » because of the similarity with the findings of this author about the links between social inequalities and per capita income. When a country is rich enough, the environmental damages begin to decline with income growth. So a sustainable strategy of development could be to reach this « turning point » as fast as possible. However, those results are extremely fragile. It seems that we can support the EKC hypothesis only for few pollutants with local impacts. But, even in this case, we will explain that a lot of methodology criticisms arise. In no way the EKC can be thought as a stylised fact of the development and other directions must be explore. (Full text in french)

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Paper provided by Groupe d'Economie du Développement de l'Université Montesquieu Bordeaux IV in its series Documents de travail with number 107.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mon:ceddtr:107
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