Environmental Quality & College Attainment: An Envirodevonomic Study

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date



College of Business and Economics


Department of Economics

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Kelly Chen


This study examines the effects of environmental quality on educational attainment across a 50 states using a before and after method of analysis. This is an original model incorporating national education attainment data from 1970-2016 acquired from the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. Industrial toxic waste release measures for the same time frame across states from the United States Environmental Protection Agency will be used as a proxy for environmental quality. Several reports suggest a global crisis in access to clean water is before us. Lack of fresh water has presented constraint to major growth markets including China, India, Indonesia, Africa, parts of Australia and the United States. The United Nations World Water Development Report estimates that if present patterns in pollution continue, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in water stressed conditions by 2025. The realization that air, land and water has a significant impact on economic growth has led to the need for emphasis and understanding concerning the nature of this relation. These foundations suggest that development is likely to be influenced by the ways that air, land and water resources are managed. This model can be applied to other countries as well as manipulated to incorporate regional or county data to provide meaningful insight to officials conducting environmental and development policy analysis. It is crucial that the forefront of the environment and the economy’s relation among one another be analyzed moving forward as the need for high quality natural assets is increasing while resources dwindle.

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