Most quantitative studies of societal development employ utilize some measure of economic growth or wealth as a dependent variable. While this was a useful and natural starting point, it is important for both intellectual and policy reasons to enlarge the range of welfare indicators analyzed. Among the most important to include are measures of environmental quality. The tradeoffs between rapid economic growth and environmental quality have received a great deal of commentary. Moreover, there is a need for serious study as to how tradeoffs between economic growth and environmental quality are managed by different institutional design. Correspondingly, the Center initiated the Environmental Quality Project, which was supervised by Peter F. Nardulli and implemented by Grzegorz Wojslaw and Joseph Bajjalieh.
An encompassing review of the literature on environmental quality led to a focus on seven dimensions of environmental quality: air quality, water quality, soil quality, deforestation rates, waste management, protected land, and national participation in international treaties. The primary objective of this project was to identify the most reputable sources of data on these dimensions of environmental quality for the countries included in the SID project. Data collection for this project is completed, though updates will be added.