Leading Issues in Economic Development

By Gerald M. Meier; James E. Rauch | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
Development and the Environment

Overview: Environmental Problems in Less Versus More Developed Countries

EXHIBIT X.1. ENVIRONMENTAL INDICATORS

SELECTION X.1. DEVELOPMENT AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Comment X.1. The “Environmental Kuznets Curve”

SELECTION X.2. NORTH–SOUTH TRADE AND THE GLOBAL
ENVIRONMENT

Comment X.2. Empirical Studies of the Impact of International Trade on the
Environment in Less Developed Countries

SELECTION X.3. DEFORESTATION AND THE RULE OF LAW IN A CROSS
SECTION OF COUNTRIES

SELECTION X.4. DETERMINANTS OF POLLUTION ABATEMENT IN
DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: EVIDENCE FROM SOUTH AND
SOUTHEAST ASIA

SELECTION X.5. GENUINE SAVINGS RATES IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES


Overview: Environmental Problems in Less Versus More
Developed Countries

Concern with environmental degradation that began in the industrialized countries in the 1960s and 1970s extended to the less developed countries by the 1980s. The most pressing issues in the latter countries are not necessarily the same as in the former countries, however. A particularly dramatic example is “indoor air pollution,” of which the World Bank states in the first selection of this chapter:

For hundreds of millions of the world's poorer citizens, smoke and fumes from indoor use of biomass
fuel (such as wood, straw, and dung) pose much greater health risks than any outdoor pollution. Women
and children suffer most from this form of pollution, and its effects are often equivalent to those of
smoking several packs of cigarettes a day.

Exhibit X.1 shows that access to safe water and improved sanitation facilities is a major problem in low human development countries and in many medium human development countries, but has almost disappeared as a problem in high human development countries.

The reason environmental problems differ so substantially between less and more developed countries is that few if any forms of environmental degradation tend to remain constant with economic growth. Figure 3 of the first selection shows that some environmental problems such as inadequate urban sanitation tend to improve as income increases, others such as urban air pollution initially worsen but then improve as incomes rise, and still others such as carbon dioxide emissions tend to worsen steadily with increasing income. The tendency of many forms of environmental degradation to follow an “inverted U” when plotted against income

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Leading Issues in Economic Development
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Exhibits xiii
  • Preface xv
  • Using This Book xvii
  • Chapter I - Introduction 1
  • Chapter II - Historical Perspective 81
  • Chapter III - International Trade and Technology Transfer 133
  • Chapter IV - Human Resources 183
  • Chapter V - Investment and Finance 293
  • Chapter VI - Urbanization and the Informal Sector 331
  • Chapter VII - Agriculture 381
  • Chapter VIII - Income Distribution 433
  • Chapter IX - Political Economy 489
  • Chapter X - Development and the Environment 581
  • Appendix - How to Read a Regression Table 633
  • Index of Selection Authors 639
  • Index 641
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