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Invariance in growth theory and sustainable development

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  • Martinet, Vincent
  • Rotillon, Gilles

Abstract

This paper analyzes the general concept of sustainability from a different point of view than that generally found in the literature. If sustainability is defined as the requirement to keep something constant or at least non-decreasing throughout time, the choice of the thing to be preserved is controversial. Neo-classical models mainly assume that sustainability requires that consumption or a utility level has to be preserved. In this article, the authors object to this a priori conception of sustainability and define all the quantities that can be preserved in neo-classical optimal growth models. They thus wonder if invariant quantities can be found along the optimal paths defined by a classical representation of an economy with an exhaustible resource. They use the Noether theorem to determine the conservation laws of dynamic systems and examine under which conditions there is such invariance and how it could be interpreted as a sustainability indicator. They emphasize the limits of the economic growth theory for coping with the sustainability issue.
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  • Martinet, Vincent & Rotillon, Gilles, 2007. "Invariance in growth theory and sustainable development," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(8), pages 2827-2846, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:31:y:2007:i:8:p:2827-2846
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    1. Avinash Dixit & Peter Hammond & Michael Hoel, 1980. "On Hartwick's Rule for Regular Maximin Paths of Capital Accumulation and Resource Depletion," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(3), pages 551-556.
    2. Stavins, Robert N. & Wagner, Alexander F. & Wagner, Gernot, 2003. "Interpreting sustainability in economic terms: dynamic efficiency plus intergenerational equity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 339-343, June.
    3. Asheim, Geir B. & Buchholz, Wolfgang & Tungodden, Bertil, 2001. "Justifying Sustainability," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 252-268, May.
    4. Sato, Ryuzo & Kim, Youngduk, 2002. "Hartwick's rule and economic conservation laws," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 437-449, March.
    5. Hartwick, John M, 1977. "Intergenerational Equity and the Investing of Rents from Exhaustible Resources," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(5), pages 972-974, December.
    6. Graciela Chichilnisky, 1996. "An axiomatic approach to sustainable development," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 13(2), pages 231-257, April.
    7. R. M. Solow, 1974. "Intergenerational Equity and Exhaustible Resources," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(5), pages 29-45.
    8. Heal, G., 1998. "Valuing the Future: Economic Theory and Sustainability," Papers 98-10, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
    9. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
    10. Chichilnisky, Graciela & Heal, Geoffrey & Beltratti, Andrea, 1995. "The Green Golden Rule," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 175-179, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Feng Dai & Songtao Wu & Ling Liang, 2014. "Capital and innovation aggregation with environmental pressure: An optimal evolution," Cogent Economics & Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(1), pages 1-16, December.
    2. Cairns, Robert D., 2008. "Value and income," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 417-424, June.
    3. Arbex, Marcelo & Perobelli, Fernando S., 2010. "Solow meets Leontief: Economic growth and energy consumption," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 43-53, January.

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