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Delinking Economic Growth from Environmental Degradation? A Literature Survey on the Environmental Kuznets Curve Hypothesis

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  • Sigrid Stagl

    (Department of Economics, Vienna University of Economics & B.A.)

Abstract

The effect of economic growth on environmental quality is much under dispute. A number of empirical studies have made the claim that there exist in some income ranges a positive relation between per capita income and some measure of environmental quality. According to this inverted U-shaped pattern of different pollutants relative to per capita incomes in different countries which is also called the ”Environmental Kuznets Curve” (EKC), environmental pressure increases up to a point as income goes up; after the turning point environmental quality improves as income keeps rising. Possible explanations for this pattern are seen in the progression of economic development, from clean agrarian economies to polluting industrial economies to clean service economies. This trend is enhanced through the transfer of cleaner technology from high-income countries to low-income countries and the tendency of people with higher income having a higher preference for environmental quality. Since this relationship is so fundamental to questions of economic development and sustainability it has provoked a vast load of research over the last seven years supporting but also heavily criticizing the results and conclusions. This paper gives an overview of the literature published on this topic to date and the conceptual, methodological and fundamental critique put forward.

Suggested Citation

  • Sigrid Stagl, 1999. "Delinking Economic Growth from Environmental Degradation? A Literature Survey on the Environmental Kuznets Curve Hypothesis," Working Papers geewp06, Vienna University of Economics and Business Research Group: Growth and Employment in Europe: Sustainability and Competitiveness.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwgee:geewp06
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    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. Annegrete Bruvoll & Hege Medin, 2003. "Factors Behind the Environmental Kuznets Curve. A Decomposition of the Changes in Air Pollution," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 24(1), pages 27-48, January.
    3. Akpan, Usenobong F. & Chuku, Agbai, 2011. "Economic Growth and Environmental Degradation in Nigeria: Beyond the Environmental Kuznets Curve," MPRA Paper 31241, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Marzio Galeotti, 2003. "Economic Development and Environmental Protection," Working Papers 2003.89, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    5. Claudia Kettner & Angela Köppl & Sigrid Stagl, 2014. "Towards an Operational Measurement of Socio-ecological Performance. WWWforEurope Working Paper No. 52," WIFO Studies, WIFO, number 47154, September.
    6. Dinda, Soumyananda, 2004. "Environmental Kuznets Curve Hypothesis: A Survey," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 431-455, August.
    7. Marzio Galeotti & Matteo Manera & Alessandro Lanza, 2006. "On the Robustness of Robustness Checks of the Environmental Kuznets Curve," Working Papers 2006.22, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    8. Rayan Baalbaki & Walid Marrouch, 2020. "Is there a garbage Kuznets curve? Evidence from OECD countries," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 40(2), pages 1049-1055.
    9. Sigrid Stagl, 2014. "Ecological macroeconomics: reflections on labour markets," European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies: Intervention, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 11(2), pages 171-181, September.
    10. Taran Fæhn & Erling Holmøy, 2001. "Trade Liberalisation and Effects on Pollutive Emissions and Waste A General Equilibrium Assessment for Norway," Discussion Papers 298, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    11. Andrade, André Luiz, 2009. "CO2 e crescimento econômico: uma análise para as emissões dos combustíveis líquidos de origem fóssil no Brasil [CO2 and economic growth: An analysis for emissions from burning fossil fuels in liqui," MPRA Paper 15313, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Lindmark, Magnus, 2002. "An EKC-pattern in historical perspective: carbon dioxide emissions, technology, fuel prices and growth in Sweden 1870-1997," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 333-347, August.

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    economic growth; environmental protection; Environmental Kuznets Curve;
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