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Environmental regulation and development : a cross-country empirical analysis


  • Mody, Ashoka
  • Roy, Subhendu
  • Wheeler, David
  • Dasgupta, Susmita


The authors develop comparative indices of environmental policy and performance for 31 countries using a quantified analysis of reports prepared for the United Nations Conference on Environmental and Development. In cross-country regressions, they find a very strong, continuous association between their indicators and national income per capita, particularly when adjusted for purchasing power parity. Their results suggest a characteristic progression in development. Poor agrarian economies focus first on natural resource protection. With increased urbanization and industrialization, countries move from initial regulation of water pollution to air pollution control. The authors highlight the importance of institutional development. Environmental regulation is more advanced in developing countries with relatively secure property rights, effective legal and judicial systems, and efficient public administration.

Suggested Citation

  • Mody, Ashoka & Roy, Subhendu & Wheeler, David & Dasgupta, Susmita, 1995. "Environmental regulation and development : a cross-country empirical analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1448, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1448

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lee, Dwight R., 1984. "The economics of enforcing pollution taxation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 147-160, June.
    2. Magat, Wesley A & Viscusi, W Kip, 1990. "Effectiveness of the EPA's Regulatory Enforcement: The Case of Industrial Effluent Standards," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(2), pages 331-360, October.
    3. Deily, Mary E. & Gray, Wayne B., 1991. "Enforcement of pollution regulations in a declining industry," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 260-274, November.
    4. Harrington, Winston, 1988. "Enforcement leverage when penalties are restricted," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 29-53, October.
    5. Beavis, Brian & Dobbs, Ian, 1987. "Firm behaviour under regulatory control of stochastic environmental wastes by probabilistic constraints," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 112-127, June.
    6. Linder, Stephen H. & McBride, Mark E., 1984. "Enforcement costs and regulatory reform: The agency and firm response," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 327-346, December.
    7. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    8. William F. Sinclair, 1991. "Controlling Effluent Discharges from Canadian Pulp and Paper Manufacturers," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 17(1), pages 86-105, March.
    9. Lee G. Anderson & Dwight R. Lee, 1986. "Optimal Governing Instrument, Operation Level, and Enforcement in Natural Resource Regulation: The Case of the Fishery," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 68(3), pages 678-690.
    10. Cropper, Maureen L & Oates, Wallace E, 1992. "Environmental Economics: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(2), pages 675-740, June.
    11. William J. Furlong, 1991. "The Deterrent Effect of Regulatory Enforcement in the Fishery," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 67(1), pages 116-129.
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