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Puzzling over sustainability: an equilibrium analysis

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  • BRECHET, Thierry
  • LAMBRECHT, Stéphane

Abstract

In this paper we model an overlapping generations economy in which individuals are endowed with a renewable resource. This resource can be exploited at no cost by the young households and provided to production. A joy-of-giving bequest motive motivates the transfer of the unexploited resource to the heirs. The study of intertemporal equilibrium reveals three puzzles neglected by the literature on sustainability. First, the existence of a bequest motive does not automatically guaranteea sustainable future. Second, human exploitation may preserve the resource in equilibrium but at a sub-optimal rate; in this case, both those who exploit too much and those who do not exploit enough should run a capital stock lower than the golden rule level. Third, there exist fluctuating transitions to a sustainable future in which some generations are worse off than both their ascendants and their descendants.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers with number 2005001.

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Date of creation: 00 Jan 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2005001

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Related research

Keywords: overlapping generations; sustainability; altruism; natural resource;

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  1. Stavins, Robert & Wagner, Alexander & Wagner, Gernot, 2002. "Interpreting Sustainability in Economic Terms: Dynamic Efficiency Plus Intergenerational Equity," Discussion Papers dp-02-29, Resources For the Future.
  2. JOUVET, Pierre-André & MICHEL, Philippe & VIDAL, Jean-Pierre, 1997. "Intergenerational altruism and the environment," CORE Discussion Papers 1997041, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  3. Richard B. Howarth, 1997. "Sustainability as Opportunity," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 73(4), pages 569-579.
  4. Geir B. Asheim & Wolfgang Buchholz, 2000. "The Hartwick Rule: Myths and Facts," CESifo Working Paper Series 299, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
  6. Koskela, Erkki & Ollikainen, Markku & Puhakka, Mikko, 2002. "Renewable Resources in an Overlapping Generations Economy Without Capital," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 497-517, May.
  7. Gerlagh, Reyer & Keyzer, Michiel A., 2003. "Efficiency of conservationist measures: an optimist viewpoint," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 310-333, September.
  8. Kenneth Arrow & Partha Dasgupta & Karl-Göran Mäler, 2003. "Evaluating Projects and Assessing Sustainable Development in Imperfect Economies," Working Papers 2003.109, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  9. Gerlagh, Reyer & Keyzer, Michiel A., 2001. "Sustainability and the intergenerational distribution of natural resource entitlements," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 315-341, February.
  10. Howarth, Richard B & Norgaard, Richard B, 1992. "Environmental Valuation under Sustainable Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 473-77, May.
  11. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
  12. Pezzey, John C V & Withagen, Cees A, 1998. " The Rise, Fall and Sustainability of Capital-Resource Economies," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 100(2), pages 513-27, June.
  13. Karl-Gustaf Löfgren, 1991. "Another reconciliation between economists and forestry experts: OLG-arguments," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 1(1), pages 83-95, March.
  14. Hultkrantz, Lars, 1992. "Forestry and the bequest motive," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 164-177, March.
  15. Levhari, David & Michener, Ron & Mirman, Leonard J, 1981. "Dynamic Programming Models of Fishing: Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 649-61, September.
  16. Mourmouras, Alex, 1993. "Conservationist government policies and intergenerational equity in an overlapping generations model with renewable resources," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 249-268, June.
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