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The Economics of Sustainability: A Review of Journal Articles

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  • Toman, Michael
  • Pezzey, John C.

Abstract

Concern about sustainability helped to launch a new agenda for development and environmental economics and challenged many of the fundamental goals and assumptions of the conventional, neoclassical economics of growth and development. We review 25 years’ of refereed journal articles on the economics of sustainability, with emphasis on analyses that involve concern for intergenerational equity in the long-term decisionmaking of a society; recognition of the role of finite environmental resources in long-term decisionmaking; and recognizable, if perhaps unconventional, use of economic concepts, such as instantaneous utility, cost, or intertemporal welfare. Taken as a whole, the articles reviewed here indicate that several areas must be addressed in future investigation: improving the clarity of sustainability criteria, maintaining distinctions between economic efficiency and equity, more thoroughly investigating many common assumptions in the literature about prospects for resource substitution and resource-enhancing technical change, and encouraging the empirical investigation of sustainability issues.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-02-03.

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Date of creation: 01 Feb 2002
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-02-03

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Keywords: economic efficiency; intergenerational equity; social optimality; sustainable development;

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References

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Cited by:
  1. Wagner, Jeffrey, 2011. "Incentivizing sustainable waste management," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(4), pages 585-594, February.
  2. Gowdy, John, 2005. "Toward a new welfare economics for sustainability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 211-222, April.
  3. John M. Gowdy, 2004. "Toward a New Welfare Foundation for Sustainability," Rensselaer Working Papers in Economics 0401, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Economics.
  4. Marletto, Gerardo, 2009. "Transalpine transport policies: towards a shared approach," MPRA Paper 26601, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2010.
  5. Nel, Willem P. & Cooper, Christopher J., 2009. "Implications of fossil fuel constraints on economic growth and global warming," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 166-180, January.
  6. Pulido San Román, A., 2003. "Desarrollo sostenible: un reto central para el pensamiento económico," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 21, pages 203-220, Agosto.

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