Enforcement and air pollution: an environmental justice case study
This paper provides an environmental justice empirical analysis on the relationship between income, demographic characteristics and concentrations of air industrial pollutants within the Italian provinces. Two general conclusions can be drawn from the empirical results. First, the estimates obtained are consistent with an inverse U-shaped environmental Kuznets curve: air pollution releases increase with income up to a turning point, where the relation reverts. Second, there is evidence that air releases tend to be higher in provinces with high concentration of females as households’ head and with high concentration of children. Since our findings do not point to environmental discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, this suggests that environmental justice issues in Italy are not likely to manifest themselves along racial and ethnic terms but instead in terms of social categories and gender composition. We also find that judicial inefficiency (a measure of the inefficiency of law enforcement) is associated with higher levels of pollution. In terms of policy implications, this result suggests the need to strengthen, all through the territory, the local enforcement of environmental laws in order to possibly reduce the negative effects on ambient air pollution.
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