What is it about?

This article examines the linkage between per capita GDP and sulfur dioxide emissions for one single country, in this case Finland. The narrow approach together with a combination of a historical and economical approach enables us cut deeper into the controversial environmental Kuznets curve -hypothesis. We found two parallel reasons for a downturn in sulfur emissions: technological development and anxiety about possible environmental damage and related economic costs. The role of economic growth creating a downturn was noticed being small or nonexistent. As a result, we claim that the causal connection goes to an opposite direction: proper environmental standards and conservation comprise a necessary condition for economic growth in the long run.

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Why is it important?

We show that proper environmental standards and conservation comprise a necessary condition for economic growth in the long run.

Perspectives

From a methodological point of view, I think this is my best article, because, here I show how we can use historical methods to answer economic questions and vice versa. In this case, the controversial environmental Kuznets curve-hypothesis, which claims that which proposes that some pollution or measures of environmental degradation would follow an inverted U-curve related to incomes, increasing at low income levels and decreasing at high income levels. We claim that the causal connection might also go in an opposite direction: proper environmental standards and conservation comprise a necessary condition for economic growth in the long run.

Dr Jan Kunnas
European University Institute

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This page is a summary of: Anxiety and technological change — Explaining the inverted U-curve of sulphur dioxide emissions in late 20th century Finland, Ecological Economics, May 2010, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2010.03.005.
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