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Environmental policy and the economic downturn

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  • Alex Bowen
  • Nicholas Stern

Abstract

This paper considers how environmental policies should respond to macroeconomic downturns. It first explores the implications of the global economic downturn of 2008--9 for environmental policies, focusing in particular on the example of action against climate change. The arguments for and against activist fiscal policies in general are then reviewed, and the case made that a demand-induced downturn provides a very good opportunity to undertake a necessary step change in the public spending component of environmental policies and to start working through a backlog of public investment to improve the environment. Fiscal policy should be used to improve the allocation of resources across time and space. Recent fiscal stimuli are considered in the light of this discussion. It is also argued that there is little cause to delay the introduction of price signals to internalize environmental externalities. But the levels at which such signals should be set requires careful analysis; changes over the business cycle may be warranted, depending on the nature of the environmental externality and the cause(s) of the business cycle in question. Copyright 2010, Oxford University Press.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/oxrep/grq007
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Oxford Review of Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 26 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (Summer)
Pages: 137-163

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Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:26:y:2010:i:2:p:137-163

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Web page: http://oxrep.oupjournals.org/

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Cited by:
  1. Paul Ekins & Stefan Speck, 2014. "The fiscal implications of climate change and policy responses," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 19(3), pages 355-374, March.
  2. Bowen, Alex, 2012. "'Green'growth,'green'jobs and labor markets," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5990, The World Bank.
  3. Alex Bowen, 2012. "‘Green’ growth, ‘green’ jobs and labour markets," Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Working Papers 76, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
  4. Zeba Anjum & Paul J. Burke & Reyer Gerlagh & David I. Stern, 2014. "Modeling the Emissions-Income Relationship Using Long-Run Growth Rates," CCEP Working Papers 1403, Centre for Climate Economics & Policy, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.

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