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On economic disequilibrium and free lunch

  • Robert Ayres
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    There is a sharp disagreement between mainstream economists and advocates of energy efficiency as regards the potential for “free lunches” or “no regrets” policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions. From an economics perspective, the critical question is whether the economic system is — or is not — close to a Pareto-optimum equilibrium state. If so, it follows that most technological systems now in place are optimum, or nearly so, from an economic perspective. If not, there may be many sub-optimal technologies in place, with corresponding opportunities for very high returns on appropriate investments. This paper presents some of the evidence supporting the latter thesis. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1994

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    Article provided by European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in its journal Environmental & Resource Economics.

    Volume (Year): 4 (1994)
    Issue (Month): 5 (October)
    Pages: 435-454

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:4:y:1994:i:5:p:435-454
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    1. Conrad, Klaus & Henseler-Unger, Iris, 1986. "Applied general equilibrium modeling for long-term energy policy in Germany," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 531-549.
    2. Jorgenson, Dale W. & Wilcoxen, Peter J., 1990. "Intertemporal general equilibrium modeling of U.S. environmental regulation," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 715-744.
    3. Hildenbrand, Werner, 1981. "Short-Run Production Functions Based on Microdata," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(5), pages 1095-1125, September.
    4. Robert H. Williams, 1990. "Low-Cost Strategies for Coping with CO2 Emission Limits (A Critique of "CO2 Emission Limits: an Economic Cost Analysis for the USA" by Alan Manne and Richard Richels)," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 35-60.
    5. Alan S. Manne & Richard G. Richels, 1991. "Global CO2 Emission Reductions - the Impacts of Rising Energy Costs," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 87-108.
    6. Lawrence H. Goulder, 1992. "Do the Costs of a Carbon Tax Vanish When Interactions With Other Taxes are Accounted For?," NBER Working Papers 4061, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Jorgenson, D.W. & Slesnick, D. & Wilcoxen, P.J., 1992. "Carbon Taxes and Economic Welfare," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1589, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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