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Inequality, democracy, and the environment: A cross-national analysis

Prakash Kashwan

Ecological Economics, 2017, vol. 131, issue C, 139-151

Abstract: This paper joins the debate on the relationship between inequality and the environment. Departing from the past contributions, which focused either on the theories of environmental behavior or on economic interests, this paper develops arguments about “political choice” mechanisms that help explain the linkages between inequality and national policymaking related to the establishment of protected areas. A cross-national analysis of the interactions between inequality, democracy and the legal designation of protected areas in a global sample of 137 countries shows that, ceteris paribus, the effects of inequality vary depending on the strength of democracy: in relatively democratic countries inequality is associated with less land in protected areas, whereas in relatively undemocratic countries the reverse is true. The highly significant effects of inequality undermine the democratic dividend in the arena of nature conservation.

Keywords: Inequality; Democracy; Environmental protection; Political choice; Social choice; Institutions (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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