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Endogenous technology and environmental quality in economic models


  • Frank den Butter, Marjan W. Hofkes


The debate on the relationship between the economy and the environment focuses on the question whether there is a trade-off between economic growth and environmental quality. In order to enable a quantification of this essentially empirical question, it is necessary to integrate the environment into economic models. This article considers the integration of the environment in models of economic growth. According to these models, technical progress constitutes a major driving force for economic growth. First, we give a short survey of the theory of endogenous growth, where, unlike in traditional growth theory, the pace of economic growth may depend on economies of scale in the production process. Furthermore, it is discussed how the concept of sustainable development can be made operational within the framework of models of economic growth. Next, we give an example of both a theoretical model of endogenous growth which integrates the environment, and of an empirical model based on the theory of economic growth. Finally, mechanisms of structural change are described that may be exploited by policy makers in order to enhance environmental quality in a growing economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Frank den Butter, Marjan W. Hofkes, 2001. "Endogenous technology and environmental quality in economic models," International Journal of Environmental Technology and Management, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 1(1/2), pages 32-44.
  • Handle: RePEc:ids:ijetma:v:1:y:2001:i:1/2:p:32-44

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-1037, October.
    2. Robert M. Solow, 1956. "A Contribution to the Theory of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 65-94.
    3. den Butter, F. A. G. & Wollmer, F. J., 1996. "An empirical model for endogenous technology in the Netherlands," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 15-40, January.
    4. Raymond Gradus & Sjak Smulders, 1993. "The trade-off between environmental care and long-term growth—Pollution in three prototype growth models," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 25-51, February.
    5. Daly, Herman E., 1990. "Toward some operational principles of sustainable development," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 1-6, April.
    6. Gruver, Gene W., 1976. "Optimal investment in pollution control capital in a neoclassical growth context," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 165-177, October.
    7. Hofkes, Marjan W., 1996. "Modelling sustainable development: An economy-ecology integrated model," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 333-353, July.
    8. den Butter, F. A. G. & van der Eyden, J. A. C., 1998. "A pilot index for environmental policy in The Netherlands," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 95-101, February.
    9. Joseph Stiglitz, 1974. "Growth with Exhaustible Natural Resources: Efficient and Optimal Growth Paths," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(5), pages 123-137.
    10. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
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    More about this item


    endogenous technology; sustainable development; environmental policies; technological change; economic growth.;

    JEL classification:

    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products


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