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Interactions between agricultural economics and environmental and resource economics in European research: Insights from the theory of non-renewable resources

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  • Bontems, Philippe
  • Martinet, Vincent
  • Rotillon, Gilles
  • Withagen, Cees

Abstract

Agricultural Economics and Environmental and Resource Economics are two fields which cross-fertilized each other. These interactions are expected to grow in the near future, as the sustainability of agriculture is challenged by the depletion of natural resources. In this article, we focus on three topics in natural resource economics: the resource curse, the sustainable development, and the green paradox. Insights from these topics are then used to discuss the future challenges to be addressed in agricultural economics. The literature on the resource curse examines the links between resource rent and economic development, and emphasizes that resource richness may jeopardize economic growth. The recent boom in agricultural commodity prices may lock developing countries in a poverty trap if the rent from agricultural products exports is not properly reinvested. The economics literature on sustainable development emphasizes that defining sustainability is a difficult task, and that there is not a unanimous sustainability criterion to be applied to agriculture. Here again, the question of capital depreciation and investment for future generations is central and calls for the valuation of the capital assets agriculture relies on. The literature on the green paradox questions the effectiveness of well-intended environmental policies and their possible counter-productive effects. Improperly defined policies, such as biofuel subsidies and mandate, or land use constraints aiming at preserving biodiversity, may result in more rapid resource degradation.
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  • Bontems, Philippe & Martinet, Vincent & Rotillon, Gilles & Withagen, Cees, 2015. "Interactions between agricultural economics and environmental and resource economics in European research: Insights from the theory of non-renewable resources," Revue d'Etudes en Agriculture et Environnement, Editions NecPlus, vol. 96(01), pages 167-185, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:nec:raestu:v:96:y:2015:i:01:p:167-185_00
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    JEL classification:

    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General

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