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The Environmental Regime in Developing Countries

Jan 2000
Stanford King Center on Global Development Working Paper
51
This paper discusses the set of environmental externalities that are commonly found in the developing world (the environmental regime) along with the policy responses, if any, commonly used to these. Included are the direct effects of industrial emissions, air and water quality impacts of untreated waste (industrial and human waste), congestion effects of traffic, soil erosion, and open access resource problems (including forests). We note the tendency in much literature of the last few years to equate environmental problems in developing countries with pollutants (or emissions). The paper argues that to discuss environmental problems in developing countries (or to compare with developed countries) without reference to degradation as well as pollutants is incomplete; their effects are large and pervasive, and their severity and interaction with economic process often differs sharply from that of pollutants. The paper concludes with a discussion of how environmental policy in developing countries differs from that found in developed countries in light of the focus on degradation effects.