Possible Causes of the Environmental Kuznets Curve

A Theoretical Analysis

by Christoph Martin Lieb (Author)
©2004 Thesis 276 Pages


The environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) is a hypothesis stating that pollution rises with income at low levels of income but falls at higher income levels. If this hypothesis were true, economic growth would finally be good for the environment. But is this hypothesis correct? For which pollutants does the EKC exist and for which pollutants is the pollution-income relationship monotonically rising? Why does the EKC hypothesis apply to some, but not to other pollutants?
The author first surveys the empirical and theoretical literature. He also analyses which theoretical causes of the EKC are empirically validated. After introducing a method for solving static models with milder assumptions about the ordinal, instead of the cardinal utility function, the author offers further explanations of the EKC. In one static and in two dynamic models he analyses the (intertemporal) choice between consumption and abatement. He also explores an overlapping generations model with two pollutants. From this analysis conclusions about the pollution-income relationship for different types of pollutants are drawn. These conclusions are especially important for policy-makers.


ISBN (Softcover)
Umweltökonomie Environmental Kuznets Curve Flow /Stock Pollution environmental quality intertemporal substitution consumption Kuznets-Zyklus Pollution /income relation abatement
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2004. 276 pp.

Biographical notes

Christoph Martin Lieb (Author)

The Author: Christoph Martin Lieb was born in 1972 in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. He studied economics and mathematics at the University of Basel. Between 1998 and 2001 he wrote his thesis at the Interdisciplinary Institute for Environmental Economics at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. Since 2001 he has been working in Berne for Ecoplan, Economic Research and Policy Consultancy.


Title: Possible Causes of the Environmental Kuznets Curve