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Publication Detail
Measuring Environmental Action and Economic Performance in Developing Countries
  • Publication Type:
  • Authors:
    Scrieciu S
  • Publisher:
    UNEP / Green Growth Knowledge Platform
  • publication date:
  • Place of publication:
  • Report number:
    Working Paper 01 2015
  • Status:
    Published online
  • Series name:
    GGKP Research Committee on Trade and Competitiveness
  • Language:
  • Commisioning body:
    UNEP / Green Growth Knowledge Platform
  • Keywords:
    environmental policy, stringency measures and indicators, competitiveness, economic growth, productivity, developed countries, developing countries
Significant advances have been made in measuring the stringency of environmental policies, and understanding the relationship between environmental action and economic dynamics, particularly in high-income countries. Despite this, unequivocal empirical evidence on the impact of environmental policies on economic performance remains elusive, with conclusions being highly dependent on the conceptual and methodological choices with respect to defining and measuring the stringency of environmental policies. Most importantly, the literature evaluating these issues in developing countries remains sparse and robust findings are even more difficult to extract. This study reviews the existing body of work in both developed, and, where available, developing countries. It provides a comprehensive assessment of how environmental policy stringency has been measured, outlining definitional and conceptual challenges. It discusses the advantages and disadvantages of different indicators, and their usefulness for application in developing countries. In an effort to improve our understanding of the impact of environmental policy stringency in middleand low-income countries, the study draws lessons for the prioritization of future data collection and measurement efforts. Through the study, two types of stringency indicators emerge as requiring the most attention: de facto enforcement indicators and de jure explicit measures that capture the stringency of specific environmental laws, rules and regulations. While there is no “best” conceivable measure of the stringency of environmental policies, a multidimensional approach to quantifying stringency in developing countries, with a focus on explicit direct measures, is advocated. Data collection and indicator-improvement efforts need, though, to be updated periodically and supplemented by other proxies for environmental stringency.
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