Carbon Emissions and Income Inequality

Posted: 4 Dec 2000

See all articles by Martin Ravallion

Martin Ravallion

Georgetown University

Mark T. Heil

EPA Headquarters

Jyotsna Jalan

Indian Statistical Institute


We find that the distribution of income matters to aggregate carbon dioxide emissions and hence global warming. Higher inequality, both between and within countries is associated with lower carbon emissions at given average incomes. We also confirm that economic growth generally comes with higher emissions. Thus our results suggest that trade-offs exist between climate control (on the one hand) and both social equity and economic growth (on the other). However, economic growth improves the trade off with equity, and lower inequality improves the trade off with growth. By combining growth with equity, more pro-poor growth processes yield better longer-term trajectories of carbon emissions.

Suggested Citation

Ravallion, Martin and Heil, Mark T. and Jalan, Jyotsna, Carbon Emissions and Income Inequality. Available at SSRN:

Martin Ravallion (Contact Author)

Georgetown University ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

Mark T. Heil

EPA Headquarters

1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460
United States
202-564-9724 (Phone)

Jyotsna Jalan

Indian Statistical Institute ( email )

7 S.J.S. Sansanwal Marg
Planning Unit
New Delhi - 110016

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