Environmental Kuznets Curves in the People's Republic of China: Turning Points and Regional Differences

Publication | December 2008

This paper examines the relationship between economic growth and environmental sustainability in the People's Republic of China by empirically estimating environmental Kuznets curve (EKC) models using provincial-level panel data from 1985 to 2005. The results show that there exists an inverted-U shaped relationship as hypothesized by the EKC model between per capita income and per capita emissions (or discharges) in the cases of waste gas from fuel burning and waste water, with a turning point at per capita gross domestic product of $12,903 and $3,226, respectively, in 2005 purchasing power parity terms. This relationship does not hold in the case of waste gas from production or solid waste. The estimation results from the model allowing region specific slope coefficients show that the EKCs of the more developed coastal region have a flatter rising portion with turning points occurring at a higher income level than those of the less developed central and western regions. The paper argues that this may reflect technology diffusion and leapfrogging and institution imitation across regions at different stages of development. Policy implications of these findings are discussed.


  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • The Environmental Kuznets Curve: A Brief Literature Review
  • Methodology and Data
  • Results
  • Conclusions and Policy Implications
  • Appendix A. Region Definitions
  • References

Additional Details

  • Economics
  • Environment
  • China, People's Republic of
  • 1655-5252 (Print)

Published Version

Jiang, Yi, Tun Lin, and Juzhong Zhuang. 2009. "Environmental Kuznets Curves in the People's Republic of China: Turning Points and Regional Differences." In Economic Growth and Environmental Regulation: The People's Republic of China's Path to a Brighter Future, edited by Tun Lin and Timothy Swanson, 66–82. London : Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203868720.

Subscribe to our monthly digest of latest ADB publications.

Follow ADB Publications on social media.