Environmental degradation as engine of undesirable economic growth via self-protection consumption choices
We analyze growth dynamics in an economy where the well-being of economic agents depends on three goods: leisure, a free access environmental good and a private good that can be consumed as a substitute for the environmental resource. The processes of production and consumption of the private good by each agent impose negative externalities on other agents through the depletion of the environmental good. This paper shows that, in such context, the existence of private substitutes for environmental goods may fuel an undesirable economic growth process. This process is driven by the continuous increase in agents' needs for private consumption generated by the progressive reduction in free consumption of the environmental good.
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