Date of Submission


Date of Award


Institute Name (Publisher)

Indian Statistical Institute

Document Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Subject Name

Quantitative Economics


Economic Research Unit (ERU-Kolkata)


Coondoo, Dipankar (ERU-Kolkata; ISI)

Abstract (Summary of the Work)

This dissertation explores some issues of environmental economics and development. A concept crystallizing in the development and environmental economics literature is the notion that socioeconomic and environmental measures follow predictable paths associated with growing per capita income. In this context, the nature of relationship between economic development and environmental quality has become the focus of increasing attention. The issue of whether environmental degradation increases monotonically, decreases monotonically, or at first increases and then declines along a country’s development path, has critical implications for policy. Whilst development through industrialization brings higher incomes and well-being, this seems to act as a magnifier of environmental degradation. On the other hand, growing environmentalism is perceived to act as an impediment to economic development. Economic development through rapid industrialization and growing environmental consciousness together have generated a heated debate on how economic development may be linked with environment.The linkage of environmental quality with economic development evoked much discussion in the last decade (i.e., 1990s). The World Development Report (World Bank 1992) presented cross-sectional evidences on the relationship between different indicators of environmental quality and per capita national income across countries. Other studies (e.g. Grossman and Krueger, 1991, 1995; Shafik, 1994; Selden and Song, 1994; McConnell, 1997; de Bruyn et al., 1998; Rothman, 1998; Suri and Chapman, 1998; Stern and Common, 2001; Stern, 2002) documented an inverted U-shaped relationship between environmental degradation and income. The common point of all these studies is the assertion that environmental degradation increases initially, reaches a maximum level and after that declines as an economy develops. This systematic inverted-U relationship has been called as the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) following the work of Kuznets (1955), who postulated a similar relationship between income inequality and economic development.The EKC relates to the issue of the impacts of economic development on environment. To understand why and how economic developmental issues get linked to concerns about environmental degradation requires a careful study. In fact, detailed studies are needed to understand the specific nature and the shape of EKC. Reexamination of the relationship between environmental quality and economic growth thus remains an open issue.The EKC results suggest that economic growth could be compatible with environmental improvement provided appropriate policies are taken. On the other hand, effective environmental policies may be implemented when income grows. However, before adopting a policy, it is necessary to understand the exact nature of the causal relationship between economic growth/development and environmental quality. The question therefore is whether economic growth can be a part of the solution rather than the cause of environmental problem. This is indeed the primary motivation for this study. Here empirical evidences of the link between income and environmental degradation have been searched while the desirability of development is universally recognized, recent years have witnessed rising concern about whether environmental constraints will limit development or whether the ongoing process of development will cause serious environmental damage. Thus, the causal relationship between economic activity (viz., consumption and production) and environmental quality deserves to be explored carefully to bring out explicitly the linking economic development/growth to environmental quality change.Recently, Torras and Boyce (1998) have brought in the distributional issue in the discussion of income-emission relationship .


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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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