Linkages between inequality and environmental degradation: An interregional perspective
This dissertation is an attempt to contribute to the literature that seeks to move beyond income-centered approaches to environmental degradation by examining the other socio-economic factors that influence environmental quality. The first part of the dissertation utilizes the Russian Statistical Agency's data on air pollution and deforestation in Russia to answer the question of what relationship, if any, exists between the quality of governance, income and power inequalities and environmental degradation. The major finding here is that, holding income constant, greater inequalities in income and in the provision of public goods are associated with more environmental degradation. The second part of this dissertation addresses the question of what impact, if any, inequalities among Russia's regions have on environmental degradation at the regional level. By developing two methods for distinguishing between changes in the absolute level of income and changes in the relative level of income, and controlling for the former, this dissertation finds that regions with lower relative incomes have more uncontrolled pollution and more net deforestation than regions whose incomes are high in relative terms. Moreover, these differences cannot be attributed simply to differences in spending on environmental protection; they appear to reflect differences in the location of environmentally degrading activities.
0768: Environmental science