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Growth, Environment and Uncertain Future Preferences

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  • Alain Le Kama
  • Katheline Schubert

Abstract

The attitude of future generations towards environmental assets may well be different from ours, and it is necessary to take into account thispossibility explicitly in the current debate about environmental policy. The question we are addressing here is: should uncertainty about futurepreferences lead to a more conservative attitude towards environment?Previous literature shows that it is the case when society expects that onaverage future preferences will be more in favor of environment than ours,but this result relies heavily on the assumption of a separability betweenconsumption and environmental quality in the utility function. We show thatthings are less simple when preferences are non-separable: the attitude ofthe society now depends not only on the expectation of the change inpreferences but also on the characteristics of the economy (impatience,intertemporal flexibility, natural capacities of regeneration of theenvironment, relative preference for the environment), on its history(initial level of the environmental quality) and on the date at whichpreferences are expected to change (near or far future). Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Suggested Citation

  • Alain Le Kama & Katheline Schubert, 2004. "Growth, Environment and Uncertain Future Preferences," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 28(1), pages 31-53, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:28:y:2004:i:1:p:31-53
    DOI: 10.1023/B:EARE.0000023820.15522.a4
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    1. Smulders, Sjak & Gradus, Raymond, 1996. "Pollution abatement and long-term growth," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 505-532, November.
    2. Alain Ayong Le Kama, 2001. "Preservation and exogenous uncertain future preferences," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 18(3), pages 745-752.
    3. Chichilnisky, Graciela & Beltratti, Andrea & Heal, Geoffrey, 1998. "Uncertain future preferences and conservation," MPRA Paper 7912, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Philippe Michel & Gilles Rotillon, 1995. "Disutility of pollution and endogenous growth," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 6(3), pages 279-300, October.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    environment; growth; preferences; uncertainty;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
    • Q20 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - General

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