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The Environment and Directed Technical Change

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Author Info

  • Daron Acemoglu

    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Canadian Institute for Advanced Research)

  • Philippe Aghion

    (Harvard University, Stockholm School of Economics and Canadian Institute for Advanced Research)

  • Leonardo Bursztyn

    (Harvard University)

  • David Hemous

    (Harvard University)

Abstract

This paper introduces endogenous and directed technical change in a growth model with environmental constraints. A unique final good is produced by combining inputs from two sectors. One of these sectors uses "dirty" machines and thus creates environmental degradation. Research can be directed to improving the technology of machines in either sector. We characterize dynamic tax policies that achieve sustainable growth or maximize intertemporal welfare. We show that: (i) in the case where the inputs are sufficiently substitutable, sustainable long-run growth can be achieved with temporary taxation of dirty innovation and production; (ii) optimal policy involves both “carbon taxes” and research subsidies, so that excessive use of carbon taxes is avoided; (iii) delay in intervention is costly: the sooner and the stronger is the policy response, the shorter is the slow growth transition phase; (iv) the use of an exhaustible resource in dirty input production helps the switch to clean innovation under laissez-faire when the two inputs are substitutes. Under reasonable parameter values and with sufficient substitutability between inputs, it is optimal to redirect technical change towards clean technologies immediately and optimal environmental regulation need not reduce long-run growth.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2010.93.

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Date of creation: Jul 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2010.93

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Keywords: Environment; Exhaustible Resources; Directed Technological Change; Innovation;

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References

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  1. William D. Nordhaus, 2006. "The "Stern Review" on the Economics of Climate Change," NBER Working Papers 12741, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Philippe Aghion & Peter Howitt, 2009. "The Economics of Growth," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 9780262012638, December.
  3. Mikhail Golosov & John Hassler & Per Krusell & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2014. "Optimal Taxes on Fossil Fuel in General Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82(1), pages 41-88, 01.
  4. Daron Acemoglu, 2009. "When Does Labor Scarcity Encourage Innovation?," NBER Working Papers 14809, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Buonanno, Paolo & Carraro, Carlo & Galeotti, Marzio, 2003. "Endogenous induced technical change and the costs of Kyoto," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 11-34, February.
  6. Grimaud, André & Rougé, Luc, 2007. "Environment, Directed Technical Change and Economic Policy," IDEI Working Papers 384, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  7. Corrado Di Maria & Simone Valente, 2006. "The Direction of Technical Change in Capital-Resource Economies," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 06/50, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
  8. van der Zwaan, B. C. C. & Gerlagh, R. & G. & Klaassen & Schrattenholzer, L., 2002. "Endogenous technological change in climate change modelling," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 1-19, January.
  9. Manne, Alan & Richels, Richard, 2004. "The impact of learning-by-doing on the timing and costs of CO2 abatement," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 603-619, July.
  10. Popp, David, 2004. "ENTICE: endogenous technological change in the DICE model of global warming," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 742-768, July.
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  1. The Environment and Directed Technical Change: Acemoglu et al.
    by David Stern in Stochastic Trend on 2010-04-28 08:28:00
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