Distributive impact of structural change: Does environmental degradation matter?
Vulnerability to reduction of natural capital depends on defensive substitution possibilities that, in turn, are affected by the availability of other productive factors. However in several developing countries asset distribution tends to be highly skewed. Taking into account these elements, this paper proposes a model considering an economy polarized into two classes (the rich and the poor) and characterized by the following stylized facts: income and productivity of the rural poor is highly dependent on natural resources; labour remuneration in rural sector represents the opportunity cost for wage labour; the rich can partially substitute natural capital with physical capital and wage labour. In this context, agents differ for feed back mechanisms and interactions between their choices of production and environmental dynamics. Moreover environmental depletion may trigger economic transition, but the structural change is likely to result regressive.
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