IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Economic development and the environment : conflict of complementarity?


  • Beckerman, Wilfred


Although, in the course of development some features of the environment in developing countries may get worse, in the longer run they will be able to reverse trends in more common forms of air pollution and to attain levels of water supply and sanitation essential to an acceptable, healthy standard of living. On the whole, says the author, there is a strong positive relationship between income level and environmental quality. In the developed countries, effective measures to combat urban air pollution were introduced only when it had reached almost intolerable levels in many cities. This does not mean that as countries develop they will replicate precisely the environmental histories of developed countries. The path of environmental pollution in the developing world today will probably differ from that of the past in at least four respects: (1) Changes in technology, relative prices, patterns of output, and policies mean that although traditional pollutants have been brought under control in many (mainly developed) countries, the world is faced with newer pollutants, or with old pollutants that, on account of their scale or accumulation, have acquired new significance. (2) The global character of many pollutants is becoming more serious. Today, even leaving aside the issues of global warming and ozone depletion, there is evidence of serious regional environmental effects of acid rain and of marine or riverine pollution. (3) International trade in polluting activities adds a relatively new element. Developing countries may suffer not only from their own pollution but also from imported pollution, as enterprises shift their more polluting activities from countries with strict controls to countries in which environmental considerations do not have a high priority. Today, the fast growth of automobile traffic means that emissions of carbon monoxide or nitrous oxides have become a serious problem; in the past, the chief form of urban pollution was dense sulfur dioxide, or smoke.

Suggested Citation

  • Beckerman, Wilfred, 1992. "Economic development and the environment : conflict of complementarity?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 961, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:961

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


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

    Cited by:

    1. Margrethe Winslow, 2005. "The environmental Kuznets curve revisited once again," Forum for Social Economics, Springer;The Association for Social Economics, vol. 35(1), pages 1-18, March.
    2. Azam, Muhammad & Khan, Abdul Qayyum & Bakhtyar, B. & Emirullah, Chandra, 2015. "The causal relationship between energy consumption and economic growth in the ASEAN-5 countries," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 732-745.
    3. Furuoka, Fumitaka, 2015. "The CO2 emissionsā€“development nexus revisited," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 1256-1275.
    4. David Maradan & Anatoli Vassiliev, 2005. "Marginal Costs of Carbon Dioxide Abatement: Empirical Evidence from Cross-Country Analysis," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 141(III), pages 377-410, September.


    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:961. 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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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.