Sustainability and the Problem of Consumption
AbstractStrong growth in disposable income has inflated consumption to unprecedented, but not sustainable levels. In this process consumer behavior has been changing. To explain the driving forces of this development, the paper introduces a theory of evolving consumer preferences that is molded in an evolutionary paradigm. The theory allows to better assess how individual welfare would be directly affected by policy measures designed to make consumption sustainable. Such policy measures are likely to also trigger indirect welfare losses by negative employment effects. The policy debate therefore needs to pay attention to both direct and indirect welfare effects. As a concrete proposal a redesign of consumption taxes is discussed that accounts for both concerns.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group in its series Papers on Economics and Evolution with number 2011-16.
Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: 06 Dec 2011
Date of revision:
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
- D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
- D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics; Underlying Principles
- D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
- D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
- H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
- H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
- Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
- Q38 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy (includes OPEC Policy)
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Russell, Clifford S., 2001. "Applying Economics to the Environment," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195126846.
- Ayres, Robert U., 2008. "Sustainability economics: Where do we stand?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 281-310, September.
- Richard J. Herrnstein & Drazen Prelec, 1991. "Melioration: A Theory of Distributed Choice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 137-156, Summer.
- Gowdy, John, 2005. "Toward a new welfare economics for sustainability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 211-222, April.
- Røpke, Inge, 2009. "Theories of practice -- New inspiration for ecological economic studies on consumption," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(10), pages 2490-2497, August.
- Stefan Baumgärtner & Martin F. Quaas, 2009.
"What is sustainability economics?,"
Working Paper Series in Economics
138, University of Lüneburg, Institute of Economics.
- Andreas Chai & Alessio Moneta, 2010. "Retrospectives: Engel Curves," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 24(1), pages 225-40, Winter.
- Ulrich Witt, 2006. "Evolutionary Economics," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2006-05, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
- Ulrich Witt & Christian Schubert, 2010. "Extending the Informational Basis of Welfare Economics: The Case of Preference Dynamics," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2010-05, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
- Ropke, Inge, 1999. "The dynamics of willingness to consume," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 399-420, March.
- Martínez-Alier, Joan & Pascual, Unai & Vivien, Franck-Dominique & Zaccai, Edwin, 2010. "Sustainable de-growth: Mapping the context, criticisms and future prospects of an emergent paradigm," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(9), pages 1741-1747, July.
- Corinna Manig & Alessio Moneta, 2009.
"More Or Better? Measuring Quality Versus Quantity In Food Consumption,"
Papers on Economics and Evolution
2009-13, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Evolutionary Economics Group.
- Corinna Manig & Alessio Moneta, 2009. "More or Better ? Measuring Quality versus Quantity in Food Consumption," LEM Papers Series 2009/17, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
- Norton, Bryan & Costanza, Robert & Bishop, Richard C., 1998. "The evolution of preferences: Why 'sovereign' preferences may not lead to sustainable policies and what to do about it," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2-3), pages 193-211, February.
- Jackson, Tim & Marks, Nic, 1999. "Consumption, sustainable welfare and human needs--with reference to UK expenditure patterns between 1954 and 1994," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 421-441, March.
- Sorrell, Steve, 2009. "Jevons' Paradox revisited: The evidence for backfire from improved energy efficiency," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 1456-1469, April.
- Schor, Juliet B., 2005. "Prices and quantities: Unsustainable consumption and the global economy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 309-320, November.
- Meyer, Bernd & Distelkamp, Martin & Wolter, Marc Ingo, 2007. "Material efficiency and economic-environmental sustainability. Results of simulations for Germany with the model PANTA RHEI," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 192-200, June.
- Alcott, Blake, 2008. "The sufficiency strategy: Would rich-world frugality lower environmental impact," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(4), pages 770-786, February.
- Binswanger, Mathias, 2006. "Why does income growth fail to make us happier?: Searching for the treadmills behind the paradox of happiness," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 366-381, April.
- Leonhard Lades, 2013. "Explaining shapes of Engel curves: the impact of differential satiation dynamics on consumer behavior," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 23(5), pages 1023-1045, November.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Karin Serfling).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.