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Economic Growth and the Environment

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  • Gene M. Grossman
  • Alan B. Krueger

Abstract

Using data assembled by the Global Environmental Monitoring System we examine the reduced-form relationship between various environmental indicators and the level of a country's per capita income. Our study covers four types of indicators: concentrations of urban air pollution; measures of the state of the oxygen regime in river basins; concentrations of fecal contaminants in river basins; and concentrations of heavy metals in river basins. We find no evidence that environmental quality deteriorates steadily with economic growth. Rather, for most indicators, economic growth brings an initial phase of deterioration followed by a subsequent phase of improvement. The turning points for the different pollutants vary, but in most cases they come before a country reaches a per capita income of $8,000.

Suggested Citation

  • Gene M. Grossman & Alan B. Krueger, 1994. "Economic Growth and the Environment," NBER Working Papers 4634, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4634
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Selden Thomas M. & Song Daqing, 1994. "Environmental Quality and Development: Is There a Kuznets Curve for Air Pollution Emissions?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 147-162, September.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q25 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Water
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries

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