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Economic Modeling And The False Tradeoff Between Environmental Protection And Economic Growth

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  • STEPHEN J. DeCANIO

Abstract

One important element of the current policy debate on what measures should be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is the controversy over the costs of reducing those emissions. "Top-down" macroeconomic and general equilibrium models give much higher estimates of the costs than "bottom-up" models based on microeconomic and engineering data. This paper investigates the causes of the divergence between the two modeling approaches. The conventional top-down models incorporate strong implicit assumptions about maximization, technical progress, and organizational efficiency that predetermine their results. However, these assumptions are questionable on both theoretical and empirical grounds. Economic assessment of policy alternatives would benefit. from analyses that take account of the actual characteristics of business firms and other organizations that emit greenhouse gases in the course of their activities. Copyright 1997 Western Economic Association International.

Suggested Citation

  • STEPHEN J. DeCANIO, 1997. "Economic Modeling And The False Tradeoff Between Environmental Protection And Economic Growth," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 15(4), pages 10-27, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:coecpo:v:15:y:1997:i:4:p:10-27
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    Cited by:

    1. Skip Laitner, John A., 2000. "Energy efficiency: rebounding to a sound analytical perspective," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(6-7), pages 471-475, June.
    2. Jun Li & Michel Colombier, 2011. "Economic instruments for mitigating carbon emissions: scaling up carbon finance in China’s buildings sector," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 107(3), pages 567-591, August.
    3. Marechal, Kevin, 2007. "The economics of climate change and the change of climate in economics," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 5181-5194, October.
    4. Sanstad, Alan H. & DeCanio, Stephen J. & Boyd, Gale A. & Koomey, Jonathan G., 2001. "Estimating bounds on the economy-wide effects of the CEF policy scenarios," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(14), pages 1299-1311, November.
    5. Laitner, J. A. & DeCanio, S. J. & Koomey, J. G. & Sanstad, A. H., 2003. "Room for improvement: increasing the value of energy modeling for policy analysis," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 87-94, June.
    6. Valentina Bosetti & Gianni Locatelli, 2006. "A data envelopment analysis approach to the assessment of natural parks' economic efficiency and sustainability. The case of Italian national parks," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(4), pages 277-286.
    7. DeCanio, Stephen J. & Watkins, William E., 1998. "Information processing and organizational structure," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 275-294, August.
    8. Terry Barker & Jonathan Köhler & Marcelo Villena, 2002. "Costs of greenhouse gas abatement: meta-analysis of post-SRES mitigation scenarios," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 5(2), pages 135-166, June.
    9. Hall, Darwin C. & Behl, Richard J., 2006. "Integrating economic analysis and the science of climate instability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 442-465, May.
    10. Richard B. Howarth, 1997. "Energy Efficiency And Economic Growth," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 15(4), pages 1-9, October.

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