Bi-Directional Links Between Population Growth and the Environment: Evidence From India

This paper presents an empirical study of population growth and environmental change using cross-sectional district-level data from South, Central and West India. Environmental change is measured using a satellite-based "greenness" index. Unlike prior work, the analysis treats population and environmental change as jointly determined, distinguishes between rural and urban populations, and identifies distinct roles of fertility and migration. Among key findings are that population and "greenness" are jointly endogenous; increased rural fertility leads to environmental decline, which in turn prompts increased fertility; environmental scarcity spurs out-migration and environmental improvement; and increased urban fertility may lead to increased environmental quality, which in turn may spur increased fertility.


Haimanti Bhattacharya and Robert Innes

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