Skip to main content
main-content

Über dieses Buch

Environmental Kuznets Curves - one of the most controversial issues of current environmental economics - suggest that economic growth may lead to environmental quality improvements. Why and under which circumstances this may be so, are the questions addressed in this book. The approach taken is formal, using techniques of static and dynamic optimisation. In addition, the main assumptions, arguments and conclusions are also presented in a non-formel way.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
The past three decades have seen the emergence of a tremendous body of literature on the relationship between growing economic activity and the state of the environment. Without looking at any data, the very flood of papers, articles and books alone already refutes the conjecture that this relationship could be simple, unambiguous, or fully understood. On the contrary, the great bandwidth of results presented suggests a most intricate and diverse link between economic growth and the environment, turning broader generalisations made on empirical grounds into a daring enterprise. In any case, the neo-Malthusian “Garbage in and garbage out”3 view which was widespread in the early 1970s, and still has its advocates, has not been supported by the evidence provided.
Michael P. Vogel

Chapter 2. Economic Determinants of Environmental Quality Changes

Abstract
In the last chapter some evidence has been presented that seems to negate the existence of an unambiguous or even an unambiguously negative relationship between real per capita income and the level of physical environmental quality associated with it. The question immediately suggesting itself is: what are the economic determinants of the state of the environment? And in particular: why have environmental turn-arounds taken place?
Michael P. Vogel

Chapter 3. Environmental Preferences, Socially Optimal Growth, and Pollution

Abstract
In the model economy of chapter 2, environmental quality matters for two reasons. First, it appears as an argument in the production function, playing the role of a factor input, thereby positively influencing the marginal productivity of capital, and the level of output. Output can be consumed, used for abatement, or invested to earn returns in the future. Hence via production, Q contributes to welfare in an indirect way.
Michael P. Vogel

Chapter 4. Income Distribution, Desired Environmental Policy, and Green Middle-Class Elitism

Abstract
The last two chapters have focused on the relationship between per capita income and the socially optimal abatement and pollution levels in particularly simplified, stylised model economies. Many factors that may play an important role in the determination of the actual pollution level have so far been neglected, such as household characteristics, the structure of the economy, the political and institutional framework, the existence and power of interest groups, or psychological aspects. To discuss the role of these factors will be the concern of the present and the following two chapters. For this purpose, the models that have been used in chapter 2 and 3 are not detailed and realistic enough, and will therefore be modified step by step.
Michael P. Vogel

Chapter 5. Environmental Concern, Green Campaigning, and Corporate Lobbying

Abstract
As pointed out in section 4.3, the most commonly encountered explanation of the middle class’s comparatively strong engagement and involvement in environmental protection issues is its higher concern for the environment. While the last chapter avoided dealing with this psychological aspect, it constitutes a key element of the present chapter. Environmental concern, however, is not restricted to the middle class. It “tends to cut across all socioeconomic categories” [Mohai (1985), p. 821].
Michael P. Vogel

Chapter 6. Endogenous Environmental Policy and its Effects on a Growing Economy

Abstract
In section 2.1 a distinction was made between absolute and relative emission reductions. Declining emissions in absolute terms mean that the level of emissions falls over a given period of time, as opposed to declining emissions in relative terms which signify a fall in the emission intensity or the emission per unit of output.47 Environmental Kuznets Curves have been defined as to comprise two intervals of per capita income. In the lower-income interval the absolute pollution level increases with per capita income, and in the upper-income interval it decreases. Provided that the rate of pollution assimilation or decay is constant, the inverted U-curve of pollution must be the result of a similar inverted U-shaped pattern of emission levels (see section 2.5.3). From this it can be inferred that, given a nondeclining population size, Environmental Kuznets Curves automatically imply declining emission intensities of output (or of income) in the upper-income interval.
Michael P. Vogel

Chapter 7. Environmental Kuznets Curves: Limitations and Opportunities

Abstract
This last chapter is not intended to repeat what has already been said in the “Concluding Remarks” sections of chapters 2 – 6. It will, however, take up once more some of the main issues of the study, relate them to a common context, and try to join them to a single whole. Moreover, the most serious limitations of, or obstacles to, Environmental Kuznets Curves will be summarised in order to avoid the impression that the inverted U-shaped pattern could be expected for all kinds of environmental problems, and to indicate potentially fruitful directions of future research in this field. Finally, it will be attempted to give the development phase and the environment phase an interpretation that goes beyond their purely technical aspects.
Michael P. Vogel

Backmatter

Weitere Informationen