Examining the Impact of Demographic Factors on Air Pollution

Population and Environment, Vol. 26, No. 1, 2004

27 Pages Posted: 2 Jan 2004 Last revised: 28 Oct 2013

See all articles by Eric Neumayer

Eric Neumayer

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Matthew A. Cole

University of Birmingham - Department of Economics

Date Written: May 1, 2004

Abstract

This study adds to the emerging literature examining empirically the link between population size, other demographic factors and pollution. We contribute by using more robust estimation techniques and examine two air pollutants. By considering sulfur dioxide, we become the first study to explicitly examine the impact of demographic factors on a pollutant other than carbon dioxide at the cross-national level. We also take into account the urbanization rate and the average household size neglected by many prior cross-national econometric studies. For carbon dioxide emissions we find evidence that population increases are matched by proportional increases in emissions while a higher urbanization rate and lower average household size increase emissions. The results suggest particular concern for developing countries with their high population growth rates and a trend towards urbanization and smaller household sizes. We find a U-shaped relationship between population size and sulfur dioxide emissions. Beyond a threshold level at a small population size, the estimated elasticity increases with higher existing population levels. For sulfur dioxide, other demographic factors do not matter.

Keywords: carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, demography and the environment, IPAT, Environmental Kuznets Curve

Suggested Citation

Neumayer, Eric and Cole, Matthew A., Examining the Impact of Demographic Factors on Air Pollution (May 1, 2004). Population and Environment, Vol. 26, No. 1, 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=482651

Eric Neumayer (Contact Author)

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+44 207 955 7598 (Phone)
+44 207 955 7412 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://personal.lse.ac.uk/neumayer

Matthew A. Cole

University of Birmingham - Department of Economics ( email )

Economics Department
Birmingham, B15 2TT
United Kingdom

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