The Environmental Kuznets Curve in Asia

Authored by: Eriko Miyama , Shunsuke Managi

The Routledge Handbook of Environmental Economics in Asia

Print publication date:  March  2015
Online publication date:  February  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415656450
eBook ISBN: 9781315746289
Adobe ISBN: 9781317597872


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Kuznets (1955) argued that income inequality in a country first rises and then begins to fall at a certain point of economic development to form an inverted U-shaped curve, which is known as the “Kuznets curve.” The environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) is a variation of the Kuznets curve that represents the relationship between economic development and environmental degradation instead of income inequality. The logic behind the EKC is that environmental quality may deteriorate as a result of economic development because of an increase in economically valuable activities that may have deleterious environmental effects, such as production and transportation. After a certain level of economic development has been reached, however, environmentally friendly innovations may be adopted that help improve environmental quality, but this is merely a hypothesis that has yet to be empirically tested. Knowing whether the level of environmental degradation will continue to increase or decrease after a certain level of economic development is critical to the pursuit of sustainable development.

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