The Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) represents a much debated research hypothesis. The article reviews the literature, starting from the theoretical background, represented by optimal growth models, models with environment as a factor of production, endogenous growth models and other macroeconomic models. The main criticisms of the EKC hypothesis are analyzed making distinction between the theoretical – with omission of variables and matters of irreversibility – and the methodological ones, regarding, for example, the appropriate measurement of examined variables, econometric problems, and the existence of non-univocal results. The article continues with the potential regulatory contributions to be derived from the EKC, whose main feature is to ascertain the feasibility of policies combining economic growth and defence of the environment.
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