This paper published by the World Inequality Database is a quest of emerging ecostate (or green welfare state) in existing literature, and in most recent data. It presents four distinct type of ecostates: unequal, super unequal, balanced and insecure. Focusing on the particular case of Nigeria, it delineate the characteristics of ecostate insecurity and possible ways forward, drawing on ongoing in-house research made in this country. 

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The absence of any literature on ecostate in developing countries led us to infer the emergence of ecostate from available data. Our multivariate analysis suggests four possible types of ecostates – unequal, super-unequal, balanced and insecure ecostates. It further suggests that a high level of environmental performance is compatible with a high level of inequality, something which breaches the hypothesis that inequality reduction comes along environmental protection. Our multivariate analysis also tends to confirm the critical position of emerging economies, most of which are to be found in the “insecure” ecostate group.

How do such countries reconcile inequality reduction and environmental protection? Does fossil fuel subsidy removal, which on the paper increases the available funding for welfare-type policies while limiting the consumption of fossil energy, deliver the expected social outcomes? We have hinted at some of these issues in the case of Nigeria. Embracing an ecostate perspective, we have characterized “insecurity” in its particular case, then pinpointed ongoing policy initiatives which could reconcile inequality reduction and environmental protection, and allow Nigeria to escape the insecurity trap.