The Tragedy of Maldistribution: Climate, Sustainability, and Equity
This essay is an initial exploration of the dimensions of the equity/sustainability linkage from the perspective of public goods analysis. Sustainability requires an abundance of public goods. Where these commons lack governance, sustainability is at risk. Equity is a critical component of sustainability that can itself be viewed as a public good, subject to deterioration (maldistribution) when left ungoverned. As is the case for so many forms of environmental degradation, the private benefits of maldistribution tend to overshadow the larger social costs, and the result is a degradation of equity. This article sketches out the analogy of equity as a public good by: examining the evidence regarding current and historical income equality within and between countries; introducing the characteristics of public goods and grounding equity in this idiom; reviewing several theories explaining the sub-optimal provision of environmental goods; applying these theoretical frameworks to the case of equity, with an examination of the potential causes of, and solutions to, maldistribution; and, finally, addressing equity’s critical role as a component of sustainability in the case of climate change, with implications for climate policy.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Chichilnisky, Graciela & Heal, Geoffrey, 1994.
"Who should abate carbon emissions? : An international viewpoint,"
Elsevier, vol. 44(4), pages 443-449, April.
- Graciela Chichilnisky & Geoffrey Heal, 1993. "Who Should Abate Carbon Emissions? An International Viewpoint," NBER Working Papers 4425, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Stern, David I., 2004.
"The Rise and Fall of the Environmental Kuznets Curve,"
Elsevier, vol. 32(8), pages 1419-1439, August.
- David I. Stern, 2003. "The Rise and Fall of the Environmental Kuznets Curve," Rensselaer Working Papers in Economics 0302, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Department of Economics.
- Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1998. "New ways of looking at old issues: inequality and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 259-287.
- Wilkinson, Richard G & Pickett, Kate E., 2006. "Income inequality and population health: A review and explanation of the evidence," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 62(7), pages 1768-1784, April.
- Munasinghe, Mohan, 1999. "Is environmental degradation an inevitable consequence of economic growth: tunneling through the environmental Kuznets curve," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 89-109, April.
- Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1994.
"Distributive Politics and Economic Growth,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-490.
- Alesina, Alberto F & Rodrik, Dani, 1991. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 565, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1991. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Rodrik, Dani & Alesina, Alberto, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," Scholarly Articles 4551798, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Gene M. Grossman & Alan B. Krueger, 1995.
"Economic Growth and the Environment,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 110(2), pages 353-377.
- Gene M. Grossman & Alan B. Krueger, 1994. "Economic Growth and the Environment," NBER Working Papers 4634, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Galeotti, Marzio & Lanza, Alessandro & Pauli, Francesco, 2006. "Reassessing the environmental Kuznets curve for CO2 emissions: A robustness exercise," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 152-163, April.
- Coase, R H, 1992. "The Institutional Structure of Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 713-719, September.
- Randolph, Susan M. & Lott, William F., 1993. "Can the Kuznets effect be relied on to induce equalizing growth?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 829-840, May.
- Susmita Dasgupta & Benoit Laplante & Hua Wang & David Wheeler, 2002. "Confronting the Environmental Kuznets Curve," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(1), pages 147-168, Winter.
- Gerdtham, Ulf-G. & Johannesson, Magnus, 2003. "A note on the effect of unemployment on mortality," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 505-518, May.
- Jaejoon Woo, 2009. "Why Do More Polarized Countries Run More Procyclical Fiscal Policy?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(4), pages 850-870, November.
- Lester C. Thurow, 1971. "The Income Distribution as a Pure Public Good," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 85(2), pages 327-336.
- Wilkinson, Richard G. & Pickett, Kate E., 2007. "The problems of relative deprivation: Why some societies do better than others," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 65(9), pages 1965-1978, November.
- Christiaensen, Luc & Scott, Christopher & Wodon, Quentin, 2002. "Poverty Measurement and Analysis," MPRA Paper 45362, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Champernowne,D. G. & Cowell,F. A., 1999. "Economic Inequality and Income Distribution," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521589598, December.
- Champernowne,D. G. & Cowell,F. A., 1999. "Economic Inequality and Income Distribution," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521580557.
- Folbre, Nancy, 1982. "Exploitation Comes Home: A Critique of the Marxian Theory of Family Labour," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(4), pages 317-329, December.
- Boyce, James K., 1994. "Inequality as a cause of environmental degradation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 169-178, December.
- Lindmark, Magnus, 2004. "Patterns of historical CO2 intensity transitions among high and low-income countries," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 41(4), pages 426-447, October.
- Sen, Amartya, 2000. "The Discipline of Cost-Benefit Analysis," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(2), pages 931-952, June.
- Banerjee, Abhijit V & Duflo, Esther, 2003. "Inequality and Growth: What Can the Data Say?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 267-299, September.
- Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1994. "Is Inequality Harmful for Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 600-621, June.
- James Boyce, 1994. "Inequality as a Cause of Environmental Degradation," Published Studies ps1, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
- Torras, Mariano & Boyce, James K., 1998. "Income, inequality, and pollution: a reassessment of the environmental Kuznets Curve," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 147-160, May.
- Kristen A. Sheeran, 2006. "Who Should Abate Carbon Emissions? A Note," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 35(2), pages 89-98, October.
- Barro, Robert J, 2000. "Inequality and Growth in a Panel of Countries," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 5-32, March.
- Grossman, Gene M. & Krueger, Alan B., 1996. "The inverted-U: what does it mean?," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 119-122, February.
- Ravallion, Martin & Heil, Mark & Jalan, Jyotsna, 2000. "Carbon Emissions and Income Inequality," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(4), pages 651-669, October. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:4:y:2012:i:3:p:394-411:d:16718. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (XML Conversion Team)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.