A research team led by economist Abdul Rahim Ridzuan analyzed the effects of income inequality, economic growth, and carbon dioxide emissions in four Southeast Asian countries from 1971 to 2013.
Based on their findings, they hypothesized that greater income equality allows a larger middle class to hold those in power accountable and to demand more policies to protect the environment.
This hypothesis rang true in a recent report, which states that a large middle class in Thailand and Indonesia is demanding more environmental protection, which did not occur in other developing Southeast Asian countries.
The report could extend to other countries with larger middle classes that ultimately have more power and influence over environmental policies.
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