Emissions and Development in the United States: International Implications

Richard T. Carson, Donald R. McCubbin
Content Type
Working Paper
University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC)
Concerns about the sustainability of resource use have no doubt been raised since civilization began. The most famous proponent of these concerns is Thomas Malthus (1976), who, in 1798, predicted that population growth would outstrip the ability of agriculture to supply food, and mass starvation would ensue. More recently, the widely read Limits to Growth report, by Meadows et al. (1974), presented a model of resource use and development that predicted humans would face unprecedented pollution and starvation, if current resource use patterns continued into the future. Of course, both reports' most dire predictions have not come true for several reasons. They failed to account for improvements in technology, the power of market prices to ration scarce resources, and the public's demand for environmental preservation when confronted with a perceived scarcity of environmental goods. Although the dire predictions failed to materialize, many believe that environmental quality will deteriorate as the world's economies grow, unless there are significant changes in human behavior. In this paper we make a modest attempt, using air pollution data, to examine the linkage between economic growth, human behavior, and environmental quality.
Development, Economics, Environment
Political Geography
United States