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Is growth bad for the environment? Pollution, abatement, and endogenous growth

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Author Info

  • van Marrewijk, Charles
  • van der Ploeg, Federick
  • Verbeek, Jos

Abstract

The authors investigate the implications of pollution as a byproduct of production and analyze how environmental concern affects the optimal rate of economic growth and optimal government policy. The government must levy taxes on income to finance both productive government spending and abatement activities. It must levy an optimal tax. Too high a tax rate harms prospects for growth and too low a tax rate is bad for the environment. The authors distinguish between two approaches to incorporate the environment into the model stock approach and the flow approach. The flow approach assumes that the level of environmental quality changes instantly if production or abatement levels change (this is relevant for analyzing externalities associated, for example, with noise). The stock approach assumes that pollution and abatement indirectly influence the environment by affecting the rate of change in the environment over time (this is more relevant for analyzing problems of acid rain). They conclude that: win-win situations (in which improvements in economic growth and environmental quality go hand in hand) cannot arise under the flow approach, but can arise under the stock approach - if and only if the intertemporal elasticity of substitution exceeds unity; and maximizing the economy's growth rate is never optimal unless consumers care nothing about the environment.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1151.

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Date of creation: 31 Jul 1993
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1151

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Keywords: Economic Theory&Research; Environmental Economics&Policies; Economic Growth; Governance Indicators; Public Sector Economics&Finance;

References

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  1. Becker, Robert A., 1982. "Intergenerational equity: The capital-environment trade-off," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 165-185, June.
  2. Robert J. Barro, 1988. "Government Spending in a Simple Model of Endogenous Growth," NBER Working Papers 2588, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Bovenberg, A.L. & Ploeg, F. van der, 1992. "Environmental policy, public finance and the labour market in a second-best world," Discussion Paper 1992-43, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  4. Oates, Wallace E. & Schwab, Robert M., 1988. "Economic competition among jurisdictions: efficiency enhancing or distortion inducing?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 333-354, April.
  5. King, Robert G. & Plosser, Charles I. & Rebelo, Sergio T., 1988. "Production, growth and business cycles : I. The basic neoclassical model," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2-3), pages 195-232.
  6. Keeler, Emmett & Spence, Michael & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1972. "The optimal control of pollution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 19-34, February.
  7. Frederick Ploeg & Cees Withagen, 1991. "Pollution control and the Ramsey problem," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 1(2), pages 215-236, June.
  8. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth through Creative Destruction," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(2), pages 323-51, March.
  9. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-37, October.
  10. Van Der Ploeg, F. & De Zeeuw, A.J., 1990. "International Aspects Of Pollution Control," Papers 9065, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  11. Gruver, Gene W., 1976. "Optimal investment in pollution control capital in a neoclassical growth context," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 165-177, October.
  12. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter, 1992. "A Model of Growth Through Creative Destruction," Scholarly Articles 12490578, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. van der Ploeg, Frederick, 1992. "Temporal risk aversion, intertemporal substitution and Keynesian propensities to consume," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 479-484, August.
  14. Withagen, Cees, 1994. "Pollution and exhaustibility of fossil fuels," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 235-242, August.
  15. Alogoskoufis, George & van der Ploeg, Frederick, 1990. "On Budgetary Policies and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 496, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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Cited by:
  1. Hubert Kempf & St�Phane Rossignol, 2007. "Is Inequality Harmful For The Environment In A Growing Economy?," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(1), pages 53-71, 03.
  2. Ganelli, Giovanni & Tervala, Juha, 2011. "International transmission of environmental policy: A New Keynesian perspective," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(11), pages 2070-2082, September.
  3. Charles van Marrewijk, 2005. "Geographical Economics and the Role of Pollution on Location," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-018/2, Tinbergen Institute.
  4. Bovenberg, A.L. & Mooij, R.A. de, 1997. "Environmental tax reforms and endogenous growth," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-74434, Tilburg University.
  5. Morgane Chevé, 2000. "Irreversibility of Pollution Accumulation," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 16(1), pages 93-104, May.
  6. Vellinga, Nico, 1999. "Multiplicative utility and the influence of environmental care on the short-term economic growth rate," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 307-330, August.
  7. Francesco Ricci, 2004. "Channels of Transmission of Environmental Policy to Economic Growth: A Survey of the Theory," Working Papers 2004.52, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.

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