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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. 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.
  2. Di Maria, Corrado & Valente, Simone, 2006. "The Direction of Technical Change in Capital-Resource Economies," MPRA Paper 1040, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Daron Acemoglu, 2010. "When Does Labor Scarcity Encourage Innovation?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(6), pages 1037 - 1078.
  4. Mikhail Golosov & John Hassler & Per Krusell & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2011. "Optimal Taxes on Fossil Fuel in General Equilibrium," NBER Working Papers 17348, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. Philippe Aghion & Peter Howitt, 2009. "The Economics of Growth," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262012634, June.
  7. 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.
  8. William D. Nordhaus, 2006. "The "Stern Review" on the Economics of Climate Change," NBER Working Papers 12741, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
  10. Grimaud, André & Rougé, Luc, 2007. "Environment, Directed Technical Change and Economic Policy," IDEI Working Papers 384, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
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