Does the Environmental Kuznets Curve Describe How Individual Countries Behave?

Robert T. Deacon and Catherine S. Norman


We examine within-country time series data on income and concentrations of SO2 smoke, and particulates to see if the shapes of pollution-income relationships in individual countries agree qualitatively with predictions of the environmental Kuznets curve. The shapes of these relationships are determined non-parametrically for individual countries using recently available data on air pollution concentrations. For smoke and particulates, the shapes of within-country, pollution-income patterns do not agree with the EKC hypothesis more often than chance would dictate. For SO2 which generally exhibits EKC- consistent pollution-income relationships among wealthier countries, the observed patterns are also consistent with a simpler hypothesis. (JEL Q20, O13)

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