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The Environment and Directed Technical Change

  • Daron Acemoglu
  • Philippe Aghion
  • Leonardo Bursztyn
  • David Hemous

This paper introduces endogenous and directed technical change in a growth model with environmental constraints. The final good is produced from "dirty" and "clean" inputs. We show that: (i) when inputs are sufficiently substitutable, sustainable growth can be achieved with temporary taxes/subsidies that redirect innovation toward clean inputs; (ii) optimal policy involves both "carbon taxes" and research subsidies, avoiding excessive use of carbon taxes; (iii) delay in intervention is costly, as it later necessitates a longer transition phase with slow growth; and (iv) use of an exhaustible resource in dirty input production helps the switch to clean innovation under laissez-faire. (JEL O33, O44, Q30, Q54, Q56, Q58)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 102 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 131-66

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:102:y:2012:i:1:p:131-66
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  1. Grimaud, André & Rougé, Luc, 2007. "Environment, Directed Technical Change and Economic Policy," IDEI Working Papers 384, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  2. Philippe Aghion & Diego Comin & Peter Howitt, 2006. "When Does Domestic Saving Matter for Economic Growth?," DEGIT Conference Papers c011_030, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  3. Partha Dasgupta, 2008. "Discounting climate change," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 141-169, December.
  4. Daron Acemoglu, 2009. "When Does Labor Scarcity Encourage Innovation?," NBER Working Papers 14809, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Richard G. Newell & Adam B. Jaffe & Robert N. Stavins, 1998. "The Induced Innovation Hypothesis and Energy-Saving Technological Change," NBER Working Papers 6437, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. David Popp, 2002. "Induced Innovation and Energy Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 160-180, March.
  7. William D. Nordhaus, 2006. "The "Stern Review" on the Economics of Climate Change," NBER Working Papers 12741, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. Golosov, Mikhail & Hassler, John & Krusell, Per & Tsyvinski, Aleh, 2011. "Optimal taxes on fossil fuel in general equilibrium," CEPR Discussion Papers 8527, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. 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.
  11. Philippe Aghion & Peter Howitt, 2009. "The Economics of Growth," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262012634, December.
  12. Stokey, Nancy L, 1998. "Are There Limits to Growth?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(1), pages 1-31, February.
  13. Acemoglu, D., 1997. "Why Do New Technologies Complement Skills? Directed Technical Change and Wage Inequality," Working papers 97-14, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  14. Sabine Messner, 1997. "Endogenized technological learning in an energy systems model," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 291-313.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Joseph E. Aldy & Scott Barrett & Robert N. Stavins, 2003. "Thirteen Plus One: A Comparison of Global Climate Policy Architectures," Working Papers 2003.64, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  18. Pizer, William A., 2002. "Combining price and quantity controls to mitigate global climate change," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(3), pages 409-434, September.
  19. 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.
  20. Cameron Hepburn, 2006. "Regulation by Prices, Quantities, or Both: A Review of Instrument Choice," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(2), pages 226-247, Summer.
  21. -, 2009. "Economic growth in the Caribbean," Sede Subregional de la CEPAL para el Caribe (Estudios e Investigaciones) 38668, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
  22. Martin L. Weitzman, 2007. "A Review of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 703-724, September.
  23. William D. Nordhaus, 2007. "A Review of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 686-702, September.
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