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Preserving or escaping? On the welfare effects of environmental self-protective choices

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  • Antoci, Angelo
  • Borghesi, Simone

Abstract

In modern societies individuals often try to alleviate their personal damages from environmental degradation by increasing their consumption of private goods. Although this “self-protective” behavior is very frequent in industrial economies, insufficient attention has been paid to its economic and environmental consequences. In this paper we show that such a behavior can make everyone worse-off. For this purpose, using as paradigmatic case a two-islands evolutionary model, we prove analytically that environmental “self-protection” may trap the system into an undesirable (Pareto-dominated) situation and discuss a few real-life examples in which this mechanism may have actually occurred. Although the proposed model is deliberately extremely simple, it may provide some interesting insights on an aspect that has been mainly ignored in the literature so far.

Suggested Citation

  • Antoci, Angelo & Borghesi, Simone, 2012. "Preserving or escaping? On the welfare effects of environmental self-protective choices," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 248-254.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:41:y:2012:i:2:p:248-254
    DOI: 10.1016/j.socec.2011.12.012
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bartolini, Stefano & Bonatti, Luigi, 2003. "Undesirable growth in a model with capital accumulation and environmental assets," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(01), pages 11-30, February.
    2. Antoci, Angelo & Bartolini, Stefano, 1999. "Negative externalities as the engine of growth in an evolutionary context," MPRA Paper 13908, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Glaeser, Edward L. & Kahn, Matthew E., 2004. "Sprawl and urban growth," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics,in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 56, pages 2481-2527 Elsevier.
    4. Antoci, Angelo & Galeotti, Marcello & Russu, Paolo, 2005. "Consumption of private goods as substitutes for environmental goods in an economic growth model," MPRA Paper 13664, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Antoci, Angelo, 2009. "Environmental degradation as engine of undesirable economic growth via self-protection consumption choices," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(5), pages 1385-1397, March.
    6. Jorgen W. Weibull, 1997. "Evolutionary Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262731215, January.
    7. Marcy Burchfield & Henry G. Overman & Diego Puga & Matthew A. Turner, 2006. "Causes of Sprawl: A Portrait from Space," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 587-633.
    8. Angelo Antoci & Simone Borghesi & Marcello Galeotti, 2008. "Should we replace the environment?: Limits of economic growth in the presence of self-protective choices," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 35(4), pages 283-297, March.
    9. Angelo Antoci & Stefano Bartolini, 1997. "Externalities and Growth in an Evolutionary Game," Department of Economics Working Papers 9710, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
    10. Tim Forsyth, 2002. "What happened on "The Beach"? Social movements and governance of tourism in Thailand," International Journal of Sustainable Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 5(3), pages 326-337.
    11. Bird, Peter J. W. N., 1987. "The transferability and depletability of externalities," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 54-57, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Antoci, Angelo & Borghesi, Simone & Russu, Paolo & Ticci, Elisa, 2015. "Foreign direct investments, environmental externalities and capital segmentation in a rural economy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 341-353.
    2. Angelo Antoci & Simone Borghesi & Gerardo Marletto, 2012. "To drive or not to drive? A simple evolutionary model," ECONOMICS AND POLICY OF ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2012(2), pages 31-47.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Self-protective choices; Defensive expenditures; Environmental degradation; Negative externalities; Economic growth;

    JEL classification:

    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
    • Q26 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Recreational Aspects of Natural Resources
    • Q29 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Other

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