Repression and Pollution: Is There a Link?

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 1/15/2009 07:12:00 AM
Here's food for thought from Asia: is there a link between GDP per unit of energy use and repression? While it's true that democratic regimes in the Western sense are not plentiful in the region, it seems many particularly authoritarian regimes tend to have lower energy efficiency. The following is taken from the Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2008 published by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Click for a larger image:

What is striking to me is that, at a glance, it seems authoritarian regimes fare rather worse. Once more, China's case is noteworthy. Here is a country supposedly poised to become the world's largest economy by mid-century being less than half as energy efficient as Bangladesh--hardly an economic powerhouse. Nor dose it compare favorably with its other neighbors in this respect. I have previously gone into some detail [1, 2] explaining why this may be the case. Authoritarian regimes tend to promote industries which allow them to retain the "commanding heights"--in other words, more of energy-intensive manufacturing. Further, authoritarian regimes are not particularly fond of eco-weenie (just kidding) activism: it's off to the gulag for you, buddy. The result speaks for themselves.

If I had more time, I'd try investigate a model using the above data regressed on various indicators of freedom--press, economic, etc. It's worth keeping in mind for a future academic project.