Does Democracy Guarantee (De)Forestation? An Empirical Analysis

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Title: Does Democracy Guarantee (De)Forestation? An Empirical Analysis
Authors: Vadlamannati, Krishna Chaitanya
Gaarder, Anders Rydning
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/9256
Date: 27-Jan-2017
Abstract: 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.
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Sage
Copyright (published version): 2017 Sage
Keywords: AfforestationDemocracyEconomic development
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Politics and International Relations Research Collection

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