Year of Publication


Document Type





Agricultural Economics

First Advisor

Ronald A. Fleming

Second Advisor

Angelos Pagoulatos


The concept of economic development has broadened to include environmental quality and population health. Interactions between income and pollution, income and health, and pollution and health have been studied separately by researchers from various disciplines. This study attempts to unify several different research strands and analyze simultaneous interactions between population health, measured by the infant mortality rate, pollution, and income in one endogenous system. Socioeconomic, racial, and rural urban disparities in infant mortality, pollution, and income are analyzed. The simultaneous equation system, estimated using the two-stage least squares method, tests whether pollution effects on infant mortality are outweighed by income effects. The study finds that income is a stronger determinant of infant mortality than pollution. Evidence for the environmental Kuznets curve is ambiguous. Disparities in infant mortality, pollution, and income are correlated with counties rural-urban status, income inequality, and ethnic diversity. Regional patterns identify wide geographical differences in levels of pollution, income, and infant mortality. The Southeast region stands out as a region with the highest infant mortality rate, relatively high levels of air pollution and chemical releases, and low per capita incomes.