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The environmental Kuznets curve: an empirical analysis

  • M.A. COLE (a1), A.J. RAYNER (a1) and J.M. BATES (a1)

This paper examines the relationship between per capita income and a wide range of environmental indicators using cross-country panel sets. The manner in which this has been done overcomes several of the weaknesses asscociated with the estimation of environmental Kuznets curves (EKCs). outlined by Stern et al. (1996). Results suggest that meaningful EKCs exist only for local air pollutants whilst indicators with a more global, or indirect, impact either increase monotonically with income or else have predicted turning points at high per capita income levels with large standard errors – unless they have been subjected to a multilateral policy initiative. Two other findings are also made: that concentration of local pollutants in urban areas peak at a lower per capita income level than total emissions per capita; and that transport-generated local air pollutants peak at a higher per capita income level than total emissions per capita. Given these findings, suggestions are made regarding the necessary future direction of environmental policy.

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The authors wish to thank three anonymous referees and the editor of the special issue of the journal for helpful comments, but retain responsibility for all remaining errors.
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Environment and Development Economics
  • ISSN: 1355-770X
  • EISSN: 1469-4395
  • URL: /core/journals/environment-and-development-economics
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