IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Industrial pollution in economic development: Kuznets revisited


  • Hettige, Hemamala
  • Mani, Muthukumara
  • Wheeler, David


Using new international data, the authors test for an inverse U-shaped, or"Kuznets,"relationship between industrial water pollution and economic development. They measure the effect of income growth on three proximate determinants of pollution: the share of manufacturing in total output, the sectoral composition of manufacturing, and the intensity (per unit of output) of industrial pollution at the"end of pipe."They find that the manufacturing share of output follows a Kuznets-type trajectory, but the other two determinants do not. Sectoral composition gets"cleaner"through middle-income status and then stabilizes. At the end of the pipe, pollution intensity declines strongly with income. The authors attribute this partly to stricter regulation as income increases and partly to pollution-labor complementarity in production. When they combine the three relationships, they do not find a Kuznets relationship. Instead, total industrial water pollution rises rapidly through middle-income status and remains roughly constant thereafter. To explore the implications of their findings, the authors stimulate recent trends in industrial water pollution for industrial economies in the OECD (Organization for the Economic Cooperation and Development), the newly industrialized countries, Asian developing countries, and ex-COMECON (Poland and former Soviet Union) economies. They find roughly stable emissions in the OECD and ex-COMECON economies, moderate increases in the newly industrialized countries, and rapidly growing pollution in the Asian developing countries. Their estimates for the 1980s suggest that Asian developing countries displaced the OECD economies as the greatest generators of industrial water pollution. Generally, however, the negative feedback from economic development to pollution intensity was sufficient to hold total world pollution growth toabout 15 percent over the 12-year sample period.

Suggested Citation

  • Hettige, Hemamala & Mani, Muthukumara & Wheeler, David, 1998. "Industrial pollution in economic development: Kuznets revisited," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1876, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1876

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John, A & Pecchenino, R, 1994. "An Overlapping Generations Model of Growth and the Environment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(427), pages 1393-1410, November.
    2. Hettige, Hemamala & Huq, Mainul & Pargal, Sheoli & Wheeler, David, 1996. "Determinants of pollution abatement in developing countries: Evidence from South and Southeast Asia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(12), pages 1891-1904, December.
    3. 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.
    4. H. David Robison, 1988. "Industrial Pollution Abatement: The Impact on Balance of Trade," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 21(1), pages 187-199, February.
    5. Hettige, Hemamala & Martin, Paul & Singh, Manjula & Wheeler,David R., 1995. "The industrial pollution projection system," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1431, The World Bank.
    6. 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.
    7. Levinson, Arik, 1996. "Environmental regulations and manufacturers' location choices: Evidence from the Census of Manufactures," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1-2), pages 5-29, October.
    8. Wheeler, David & Mody, Ashoka, 1992. "International investment location decisions : The case of U.S. firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1-2), pages 57-76, August.
    9. Hartman, Raymond S.*Huq, Mainul*Wheeler,David R., 1997. "Why paper mills clean up : determinants of pollution abatement in four Asian countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1710, The World Bank.
    10. Hua Wang & Wheeler, David, 1996. "Pricing industrial pollution in China : an econometric analysis of the levy system," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1644, The World Bank.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Jha, Raghbendra & Murthy, K. V. Bhanu, 2003. "An inverse global environmental Kuznets curve," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 352-368, June.
    2. Konrad von Moltke & Daniel E. Ryan & Sheila Abed de Zavala & Diego Escuder Leira & Carlos Eduardo Frickmann Young & Carlos Galperín & Héctor Ricardo Leis & Patricia I. Vásquez & Eduardo Viola, 2001. "Medio ambiente y comercio: El caso de Mercosur y los principios de Winnipeg," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 30858, Inter-American Development Bank.
    3. Munasinghe, Mohan, 1999. "Is environmental degradation an inevitable consequence of economic growth: tunneling through the environmental Kuznets curve," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 89-109, April.
    4. Klepper, Gernot, 2001. "Globalisierung der Weltwirtschaft und Stoffströme," Kiel Working Papers 1082, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    5. E. Agliardi & M. Pinar & T. Stengos, 2014. "Assessing temporal trends and industry contributions to air and water pollution using stochastic dominance," Working Papers wp981, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    6. Martin Gassebner & Noel Gaston & Michael J Lamla, 2008. "Relief For The Environment? The Importance Of An Increasingly Unimportant Industrial Sector," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(2), pages 160-178, April.
    7. Managi, Shunsuke & Hibiki, Akira & Tsurumi, Tetsuya, 2009. "Does trade openness improve environmental quality?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 346-363, November.
    8. Talukdar, Debabrata & Meisner, Craig M., 2001. "Does the Private Sector Help or Hurt the Environment? Evidence from Carbon Dioxide Pollution in Developing Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 827-840, May.
    9. Dellachiesa, Alejandro E. & Myint, Aung P., 2016. "Trade openness and the changing water polluting intensity patterns of ‘dirty’ and ‘clean’ industrial sectors," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 129(C), pages 143-151.
    10. Konrad von Moltke & Daniel E. Ryan & Sheila Abed de Zavala & Diego Escuder Leira & Carlos Eduardo Frickmann Young & Carlos Galperín & Héctor Ricardo Leis & Patricia I. Vásquez & Eduardo Viola, 2001. "Medio ambiente y comercio: El caso de Mercosur y los principios de Winnipeg," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 2975, Inter-American Development Bank.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1876. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.