Introduction to the environmental Kuznets curve special issue
BARBIER, EDWARD B.
This special issue is concerned with environmental Kuznets curves (EKC) - the hypothesis that there is an inverted-U relationship between various indicators of environmental degradation and levels of per capita income. Explanations as to why environmental degradation should first increase then decline with income have focused on a number of underlying relationships, including:the effects of structural economic change on the use of the environment for resource inputs and to assimilate waste;the link between the demand for environmental quality and income;types of environmental degradation and ecological processes.
This short piece introduces the special issue on environmental Kuznets curves (EKC) the hypothesized 'inverted-U' relationship between levels of environmental degradation and per capita income. Although the analysis of EKC relationships has been a relatively recent phenomenon, there is widespread interest on the part of academics in this analysis, and on the part of policymakers in the resulting implications for environment and development. The following introduction outlines the contributions to EKC analysis of the papers comprising the special issue. This is done in two ways: first, the empirical results of the special issue papers are compared with previous analyses of the EKC relationships; and second, the additional insights offered by the special issue papers on EKCs are discussed.
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