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Conditions for Sustainable Optimal Economic Development

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  • Y. Hossein Farzin

Abstract

This paper shows that, for dynamic optimizing economies with different types of natural resource, environmental, and human-made capital stocks, a necessary and sufficient condition for permanently sustaining an optimal utility/consumption level is the stationarity of the current-value Hamiltonian. For economies whose development is not exogenously and directly affected by time (i.e., time-autonomous economies), this stationarity condition generalizes Dixit et al.'s (1980 ) "zero-net-aggregate-investment" rule of sustain-ability, which in turn generalizes Solow-Hartwick's sustainability rule. For non-autonomous economies, the stationarity condition is not generally fulfilled, and the current-value Hamiltonian under (over) estimates the true welfare level by an amount equal to the discounted value of the net "pure time effect." For the non-autonomous case of a time-dependent utility discount rate, a general condition on the discount rate function (of which the hyperbolic discount rate function is a special case) upholds the results obtained for autonomous cases. The paper concludes with a discussion of policies that promote both optimality and sustainability objectives. Copyright © 2006 The Author; Journal compilation © 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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  • Y. Hossein Farzin, 2006. "Conditions for Sustainable Optimal Economic Development," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(3), pages 518-534, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:rdevec:v:10:y:2006:i:3:p:518-534
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Heal, G., 1998. "Valuing the Future: Economic Theory and Sustainability," Papers 98-10, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cairns, Robert D., 2008. "Value and income," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 417-424, June.
    2. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
    3. Y. Hossein Farzin, 2010. "Sustainability, Optimality, and Development Policy," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(2), pages 262-281, May.
    4. Craig Bond & Y. Farzin, 2008. "Alternative Sustainability Criteria, Externalities, and Welfare in a Simple Agroecosystem Model: A Numerical Analysis," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 40(3), pages 383-399, July.
    5. Y. Hossein Farzin, 2007. "Sustainability and Optimality in Economic Development: Theoretical Insights and Policy Prospects," Working Papers 2007.89, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.

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