Environmental Kuznets Curve

In economics, a Kuznets curve graphs the hypothesis that as an economy develops, market forces first increase and then decrease economic inequality. The hypothesis was first advanced by economist Simon Kuznets in the 1950s and ’60s. Since 1991, the environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) has become a standard feature in the technical literature of environmental policy.

It is a hypothesized relationship between environmental quality and economic development: various indicators of environmental degradation tend to get worse as modern economic growth occurs until average income reaches a certain point over the course of development. According to the curve a country’s environment is indirectly proportional to its GDP. But after the country reaches a certain level of economic development, the quality of its environments begins to improve. Supporters of this hypothesis believe that countries need to reach a particular average income level before they can afford to allocate the resources needed to protect the environment. In other words, poor countries do not care much about the environment as they have more pressing problems to solve.

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