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Does Democracy Guarantee (De)Forestation? An Empirical Analysis
Vadlamannati, Krishna Chaitanya; Gaarder, Anders Rydning
It is a commonly held view that democracy is better at safeguarding environment while autocracy is predatory in nature, and is thus insensitive towards environment. However, others argue that democracy leads to environmental degradation. We revisit this contentious relationship between regime type and environment degradation in the context of deforestation. Using panel data on 139 countries during the 1990–2012 period, we find that democracy is associated with lower levels of forest coverage. Although our results appear counter-intuitive, further analyses reveal the positive effect of democracy on forest area coverage is conditional upon the level of economic development. Roughly, at per capita income of about US$8200, the impact of democracy on forest coverage becomes positive. Our results suggest that a democratic government’s priority to tackle environmental problems depends on its level of economic development. These results also highlight the fundamental reason as to why there is a lack of coordinated effort between developing and developed countries in addressing environmental issues.
Keyword(s): Afforestation; Democracy; Economic development
Publication Date:
2018
Type: Journal article
Peer-Reviewed: Unknown
Language(s): English
Institution: University College Dublin
Publisher(s): Sage
First Indexed: 2019-05-11 06:35:33 Last Updated: 2019-05-11 06:35:33