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Conditions for Sustainable Optimal Economic Development

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  • Y. Hossein Farzin

Abstract

This paper shows that, for dynamic optimizing economies with different types of natural resource, environmental, and human-made capital stocks, a necessary and sufficient condition for permanently sustaining an optimal utility/consumption level is the stationarity of the current-value Hamiltonian. For economies whose development is not exogenously and directly affected by time (i.e., time-autonomous economies), this stationarity condition generalizes Dixit et al.'s (1980 ) "zero-net-aggregate-investment" rule of sustain-ability, which in turn generalizes Solow-Hartwick's sustainability rule. For non-autonomous economies, the stationarity condition is not generally fulfilled, and the current-value Hamiltonian under (over) estimates the true welfare level by an amount equal to the discounted value of the net "pure time effect." For the non-autonomous case of a time-dependent utility discount rate, a general condition on the discount rate function (of which the hyperbolic discount rate function is a special case) upholds the results obtained for autonomous cases. The paper concludes with a discussion of policies that promote both optimality and sustainability objectives. Copyright � 2006 The Author; Journal compilation � 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Review of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 10 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (08)
Pages: 518-534

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Handle: RePEc:bla:rdevec:v:10:y:2006:i:3:p:518-534

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Cited by:
  1. Laibson, David I., 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," Scholarly Articles 4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Y. Hossein Farzin, 2007. "Sustainability and Optimality in Economic Development: Theoretical Insights and Policy Prospects," Working Papers 2007.89, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  3. Cairns, Robert D., 2008. "Value and income," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 417-424, June.
  4. Craig Bond & Y. Farzin, 2008. "Alternative Sustainability Criteria, Externalities, and Welfare in a Simple Agroecosystem Model: A Numerical Analysis," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 40(3), pages 383-399, July.

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