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Pollution and life expectancy: How environmental policy can promote growth

  • Pautrel, Xavier

This article investigates the influence of environmental policy (EP) on growth in an AK-type growth model, when finite lifetime is introduced and the link between pollution and life expectancy (through the detrimental impact of pollution on health) is taken into account. Using an overlapping generations model à la Blanchard [Blanchard, O. (1985). Debt, deficits and finite horizon. Journal of Political Economy, 93:223-247], we demonstrate that finite lifetime introduces a "generational turnover effect" which modifies the influence of the EP on growth. Thus, when lifetime is finite and independent from pollution, we show that the "generational turnover effect" limits the detrimental impact of the EP on growth, if agents smooth their consumption over time. When pollution negatively influences life expectancy through health, we demonstrate that the "generational turnover effect" is magnified and that the EP and growth have an inverted U-shaped relationship in the steady-state. In this case, we show that the environmental policy is more likely to promote growth (i.e. it stimulates growth for a wider range of environmental taxes) when the impact of pollution on health is important and/or public expenditures in health are low. Finally, using numerical simulations, we find that for the value of parameters that we have chosen, the EP will be more likely to promote growth when agents smooth consumption over time.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

Volume (Year): 68 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (February)
Pages: 1040-1051

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:68:y:2009:i:4:p:1040-1051
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

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  1. Ricci, Francesco, 2007. "Channels of transmission of environmental policy to economic growth: A survey of the theory," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(4), pages 688-699, February.
  2. María José Gutiérrez, 2004. "Dynamic Inefficiency in an Overlapping Generation Economy with Pollution and Health Costs," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2004/38, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.
  3. Motohiro Yogo, 2004. "Estimating the Elasticity of Intertemporal Substitution When Instruments Are Weak," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(3), pages 797-810, August.
  4. Heijdra, Ben J & Ligthart, Jenny E, 2000. "The Dynamic Macroeconomic Effects of Tax Policy in an Overlapping Generations Model," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(4), pages 677-701, October.
  5. Xavier Pautrel, 2008. "Environmental Policy, Education and Growth: A Reappraisal when Lifetime Is Finite," Working Papers 2008.57, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  6. Philippe Michel & Gilles Rotillon, 1995. "Disutility of pollution and endogenous growth," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 6(3), pages 279-300, October.
  7. Olivier J. Blanchard, 1984. "Debt, Deficits and Finite Horizons," NBER Working Papers 1389, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Smulders, J.A. & Gradus, R.H.J.M., 1993. "The trade-off between environmental care and long-term growth : Pollution in three proto-type growth models," Other publications TiSEM f3ec6de7-f996-4ac0-b872-0, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  9. Kosempel, Stephen, 2004. "Finite lifetimes and government spending in an endogenous growth model," Journal of Economics and Business, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 197-210.
  10. Fatih Guvenen, 2005. "Reconciling Conflicting Evidence on the Elasticity of Intertemporal Substitution: A Macroeconomic Perspective," Macroeconomics 0507005, EconWPA.
  11. Ding, Weili & Lehrer, Steven F. & Rosenquist, J.Niels & Audrain-McGovern, Janet, 2009. "The impact of poor health on academic performance: New evidence using genetic markers," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 578-597, May.
  12. Oueslati, Walid, 2002. "Environmental policy in an endogenous growth model with human capital and endogenous labor supply," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 487-507, May.
  13. Frank Hettich, 1998. "Growth effects of a revenue-neutral environmental tax reform," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 67(3), pages 287-316, October.
  14. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Increasing Returns and Long-Run Growth," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2232, David K. Levine.
  15. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-141315 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Tetsuo Ono, 2003. "Environmental Tax Policy and Long-Run Economic Growth," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 54(2), pages 203-217.
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