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Natural Resources, Development Models and Sustainable Development

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  • Auty, Richard M.
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    Abstract

    This paper starts out from the optimistic assumption that the basic policies for environmental economic development are known but uncertainties surround the speed of their adoption. In many developing countries the key obstacle is poor governance: consequently, renewable resources continue to be mined, non-renewable resources are depleted irresponsibly, and reductions in pollution intensity lag. Recent research identifies resource abundance as an important cause of policy failure. This is because the primary sector remains large in relation to GDP so that differences in the scale of natural resource rents (and in their socio-economic linkages) condition macro policy in important ways. Most developing countries are resource-rich, a condition that engenders predatory political states that deploy resource rents in ways that cumulatively distort the economy so it falls into a staple trap, which undermines economic growth and environmentally sustainable policies. Sound macroeconomic policy is critical to the success of microeconomic measures like much of environmental policy, a fact often neglected by environmental reformers. There are two implications of this. First, in the long term, improved governance will enhance environmentally sustainable management of: renewable resources (by taking account of the total economic value of resources); finite resources (guided by the need to maintain genuine saving); and the global pollution sinks (by flattening the environmental Kuznets curve). Second, until such improvements occur, environmental policies are likely to underperform unless they are adapted to take account of flawed macro policies. Environmental reformers therefore need to support efforts by the international financial institutions to improve macroeconomic management.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by International Institute for Environment and Development, Environmental Economics Programme in its series Discussion Papers with number 24136.

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    Date of creation: 2003
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    Handle: RePEc:ags:iieddp:24136

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    Keywords: Environmental Economics and Policy; International Development; Resource /Energy Economics and Policy;

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    1. Hans Binswanger & Prabhu Pingali, 1989. "Technological priorities for farming in Subā€Saharan Africa," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 1(1), pages 46-65, January.
    2. Dasgupta, Susmita & Hua Wang & Wheeler, David, 1997. "Surviving success : policy reform and the future of industrial pollution in China," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1856, The World Bank.
    3. Stern , David I., 1998. "Progress on the environmental Kuznets curve?," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(02), pages 173-196, May.
    4. Grossman, Gene M & Krueger, Alan B, 1995. "Economic Growth and the Environment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(2), pages 353-77, May.
    5. Syrquin, M. & Chenery, H.B., 1989. "Patterns Of Development, 1950 To 1983," World Bank - Discussion Papers 41, World Bank.
    6. Pargal, Sheoli & Wheeler, David, 1996. "Informal Regulation of Industrial Pollution in Developing Countries: Evidence from Indonesia," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1314-27, December.
    7. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1985. "External Debt and Macroeconomic Performance in Latin America and East Asia," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 16(2), pages 523-573.
    8. Pearce, David & Hamilton, Kirk & Atkinson, Giles, 1996. "Measuring sustainable development: progress on indicators," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 85-101, February.
    9. Hettige, Hemamala & Mani, Muthukumara & Wheeler, David, 2000. "Industrial pollution in economic development: the environmental Kuznets curve revisited," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 445-476, August.
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