Keywords: governance, per capita GDP, sustainability, sustainable development, environmental quality, water quality, air quality, wilderness, biodiversity, GDP growth, environmental degradation, gross domestic product
Environment, governance and GDP: discovering their connections
This article investigates the impacts of governance and GDP on environmental quality, as measured by water quality, air quality, wilderness of land and biodiversity, using data from 123 countries. It finds no evidence that GDP growth will turn environmental degradation around after a certain point, as much of the literature has suggested. Instead, GDP's impact is mixed and conditional upon governance. Increases in GDP and progress of governance are associated with constant improvement of air and water quality. Specifically, water quality improvements are more dependent on governance, while GDP seems to have a greater impact on air quality. Wilderness of the territorial system is found to correlate negatively with GDP and governance. Biodiversity, however, does not relate to either factor.