Economic Growth and the Environment
We examine the reduced-form relationship between per capita income and various environmental indicators. Our study covers four types of indicators: urban air pollution, the state of the oxygen regime in river basins, fecal contamination of river basins, and contamination of river basins by heavy metals. We find no evidence that environmental quality deteriorates steadily with economic growth. Rather, for most indicators, economic growth brings an initial phase of deterioration followed by a subsequent phase of improvement. The turning points for the different pollutants vary, but in most cases they come before a country reaches a per capita income of $8000.
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