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Subsistence, Substitutability and Sustainability in Consumption

Author

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  • Stefan Baumgärtner

    () (University of Freiburg
    Leuphana University of Lüneburg)

  • Moritz A. Drupp

    (University of Kiel
    London School of Economics and Political Science)

  • Martin F. Quaas

    (University of Kiel
    Kiel Institute for the World Economy)

Abstract

We propose a representation of individual preferences with a subsistence requirement in consumption, and examine its implications for substitutability and sustainability. Specifically, we generalize the standard constant-elasticity-of-substitution (CES) utility specification for manufactured goods and environmental services, by adding a subsistence requirement for environmental services. We find that the Hicksian elasticity of substitution strictly monotonically increases with the consumption of environmental services above the subsistence requirement, and approaches the standard CES value as consumption becomes very large. Whether the two goods are market substitutes depends on the level of income. We further show that the subsistence requirement may jeopardize the existence of an intertemporally optimal and sustainable consumption path. Our results have important implications for growth, development and environmental policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefan Baumgärtner & Moritz A. Drupp & Martin F. Quaas, 2017. "Subsistence, Substitutability and Sustainability in Consumption," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 67(1), pages 47-66, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:67:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s10640-015-9976-z
    DOI: 10.1007/s10640-015-9976-z
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Cairns, Robert D. & Del Campo, Stellio & Martinet, Vincent, 2019. "Sustainability of an economy relying on two reproducible assets," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 145-160.
    2. Kollenberg, Sascha & Taschini, Luca, 2016. "Emissions trading systems with cap adjustments," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 20-36.
    3. Moritz A. Drupp, 2018. "Limits to Substitution Between Ecosystem Services and Manufactured Goods and Implications for Social Discounting," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 69(1), pages 135-158, January.
    4. Rickels, Wilfried & Dovern, Jonas & Hoffmann, Julia & Quaas, Martin & Schmidt, Jörn & Visbeck, Martin, 2015. "Indicators for monitoring sustainable development goals: An application to oceanic development in the EU," Kiel Working Papers 2019, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    5. Dupoux, Marion & Martinet, Vincent, 2019. "Can the environment be an inferior good? A theory with context-dependent substitutability and needs," Working Papers in Economics 759, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    6. Moritz Drupp & Mark Freeman & Ben Groom & Frikk Nesje, 2015. "Discounting disentangled: an expert survey on the determinants of the long-term social discount rate," GRI Working Papers 196a, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    7. Drupp, Moritz A. & Meya, Jasper N. & Baumgärtner, Stefan & Quaas, Martin F., 2017. "Economic inequality and the value of nature," Economics Working Papers 2017-08, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
    8. Meya, Jasper N. & Drupp, Moritz A. & Hanley, Nick, 2018. "Income inequality and the international transfer of environmental values," Economics Working Papers 2017-03, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
    9. Baumgärtner, Stefan & Drupp, Moritz A. & Meya, Jasper N. & Munz, Jan M. & Quaas, Martin F., 2017. "Income inequality and willingness to pay for environmental public goods," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 35-61.
    10. Baumgärtner, Stefan & Drupp, Moritz A. & Meya, Jasper N. & Munz, Jan M. & Quaas, Martin F., 2016. "Income inequality and willingness to pay for public environmental goods," Economics Working Papers 2016-04, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Elasticity of substitution; Environmental services; Stone–Geary function; Subsistence in consumption; Substitutability; Sustainability;

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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