Population, immigration, and air quality in the USA: a spatial panel study
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The role of population size in environmental degradation is a source of both political and academic debate, with the role of immigrant population being particularly salient in developed countries such as the USA. We test the relationship between two population specifications and air quality in the US context, using spatial panel analysis of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index, population, and other explanatory variables for contiguous US counties from 2007 to 2014. We find that both population in general and immigrant population in particular are associated with better, rather than worse air quality. These results are in line with political economy theories arguing that population is not the root cause of environmental problems and coincide with empirical findings of ecologically unequal exchange between core and peripheral countries.
KeywordsSpatial panel model Population Immigration Environment Air quality USA
This study was funded by Utah Agricultural Experiment Station (grant number UTA01269).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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