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The dynamics of environmental concern and the evolution of pollution

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  • Emeline Bezin
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    Abstract

    We develop an overlapping generations model within which the evolution of pollution and the formation of environmental concern are endogenous. On the one hand, people heterogeneously concerned with environmental issues contribute to pollution which is a public bad. On the other hand, the transmission of environmental attitudes is the result of some economic choice which is affected by pollution. The model predicts that the long run proportion of environmentally concerned individuals will always be high. Though, depending on the pollution-generating technology, the transition from a low-environmentally concerned society to a high-environmentally concerned one is accompanied by two different outcomes regarding the long run level of pollution. If the technology is “clean”, there is a stable steady state level of pollution. However, if it is “dirty”, pollution experiences an unlimited growth which eventually causes an environmental disaster. This result captures some stylized facts regarding the joint evolution of environmental concern and pollution in developing nations. In the latter case, we show that intergenerational transfers from the older generation to the young working one restore the possibility to reach a stationary level of pollution.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by INRA UMR SMART in its series Working Papers SMART - LERECO with number 13-09.

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    Length: 36 pages
    Date of creation: 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:rae:wpaper:201309

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    Keywords: Overlapping generations; pollution; environmental concern; cultural transmission; environmental policy;

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    12. Kotchen, Matthew J., 2005. "Impure public goods and the comparative statics of environmentally friendly consumption," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 281-300, March.
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