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Optimal Pollution Abatement Under ‘Sustainable’ and Other Social Time Preferences

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  • Ross Guest

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This paper analyses optimal pollution abatement expenditure and the pricing of pollution under alternative social time preferences, including ‘sustainable’ preferences, defined as those that are consistent with two axioms of sustainable development introduced by Chichilnisky (Land Econ 73:467–491, 1997 ). These axioms state essentially that neither the welfare of present nor future generations ought to be favoured over the other in determining the socially optimal path of economic development. The method is to calibrate a modified Ramsey model of optimal global growth and saving, where pollution is generated by the global output of goods and services. Pollution in turn reduces output. The simulation results illustrate how sensitive the optimal pollution price and abatement expenditure can be over time to assumptions about the social time preference rate. They also show that ‘sustainable’ preferences impose a lower burden on future generations in terms of the pollution price and abatement expenditure. Hence there is a case for governments to make explicit their value judgments about intergenerational welfare, in the context of their notion of sustainable development, when setting target pollution abatement levels and pollution prices over time. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10640-013-9704-5
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Article provided by Springer & European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in its journal Environmental and Resource Economics.

Volume (Year): 58 (2014)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 373-390

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Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:58:y:2014:i:3:p:373-390
DOI: 10.1007/s10640-013-9704-5
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  1. Partha Dasgupta & Eric Maskin, 2005. "Uncertainty and Hyperbolic Discounting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1290-1299, September.
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