chapter  7
6 Pages

Population and poverty

A very similar approach to econometric testing is the 'environmental Kuznets curve'. Simon Kuznets was a famous economist and Nobel laureate who investigated the relationship between economic deve1opment and the distribution ofincome. He showed that, as economies deve1op, inequality gets worse but then better. Because ofthe resulting 'hump-back shape' of the curve (Box 7.2) curves showing a link between environmental quality and income have been labelled 'environmental' Kuznets curves. The idea is that, in the course of economic development, countries will experience adverse environmental quality and then improved quality. Notice that, ifthis is correct, it runs counter to the 'anti-growth' argument that economic growth - which is a constituent part of economic development - will always lead to a deterioration in environmental quality. It therefore seems worthwhile investigating whether environmental Kuznets curves exist, and, if they do, what they look like.