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Sustainable exploitation of a natural resource: a satisfying use of Chichilnisky’s criterion

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  • Charles Figuières
  • Mabel Tidball

Abstract

Chichilnisky’s criterion for sustainability has the merit to be, so far, the unique explicit, complete and continuous social welfare criterion that combines successfully the requirement of efficiency with an instrumental notion of intergenerational equity (no dictatorship of the present and no dictatorhsip of the future). But it has one drawback: when applied in the context of renewable resources, and with a constant discount factor, there exists no exploitation path that maximizes this criterion. The present article suggests a way to cope with this problem. The idea is to restrict attention to the set of convex combinations between the optimal discounted utilitarian program and the stationary program leading to the green golden rule. It is shown that an optimal path in this set exists under rather weak sufficient conditions on the fundamentals of the problem. Some ethical properties of this approach are also discussed. In some cases, it turns out that the restricted solution implies no loss of efficiency and benefits intermediate and infinitely distant generations.
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  • Charles Figuières & Mabel Tidball, 2012. "Sustainable exploitation of a natural resource: a satisfying use of Chichilnisky’s criterion," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 49(2), pages 243-265, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joecth:v:49:y:2012:i:2:p:243-265
    DOI: 10.1007/s00199-010-0579-1
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    1. Geir B. Asheim & Tapan Mitra & Bertil Tungodden, 2016. "Sustainable Recursive Social Welfare Functions," Studies in Economic Theory, in: Graciela Chichilnisky & Armon Rezai (ed.), The Economics of the Global Environment, pages 165-190, Springer.
    2. Prajit K. Dutta & Roy Radner, 2016. "Capital Growth in a Global Warming Model: Will China and India Sign a Climate Treaty?," Studies in Economic Theory, in: Graciela Chichilnisky & Armon Rezai (ed.), The Economics of the Global Environment, pages 277-310, Springer.
    3. Elinor Ostrom, 2016. "Nested Externalities and Polycentric Institutions: Must We Wait for Global Solutions to Climate Change Before Taking Actions at Other Scales?," Studies in Economic Theory, in: Graciela Chichilnisky & Armon Rezai (ed.), The Economics of the Global Environment, pages 259-276, Springer.
    4. Alvarez-Cuadrado, Francisco & Van Long, Ngo, 2009. "A mixed Bentham-Rawls criterion for intergenerational equity: Theory and implications," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 154-168, September.
    5. Jean-Pierre Drugeon & Thai Ha Huy, 2022. "A not so myopic axiomatization of discounting," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 73(1), pages 349-376, February.
    6. Alain Ayong Le Kama & Thai Ha-Huy & Cuong Le Van & Katheline Schubert, 2014. "A never-decisive and anonymous criterion for optimal growth models," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 55(2), pages 281-306, February.
    7. Jean-Pierre Drugeon & Thai Ha-Huy, 2018. "A Not so Myopic Axiomatization of Discounting," Working Papers halshs-01761962, HAL.
    8. Chichilnisky, Graciela & Hammond, Peter J. & Stern, Nicholas, 2020. "Fundamental Utilitarianism and Intergenerational Equity with Extinction Discounting," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 451, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    9. Graciela Chichilnisky & Peter J. Hammond & Nicholas Stern, 2020. "Fundamental utilitarianism and intergenerational equity with extinction discounting," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 54(2), pages 397-427, March.
    10. Cinzia Colapinto & Danilo Liuzzi & Simone Marsiglio, 2017. "Sustainability and intertemporal equity: a multicriteria approach," Annals of Operations Research, Springer, vol. 251(1), pages 271-284, April.
    11. Larry Karp & Jiangfeng Zhang, 2016. "Taxes Versus Quantities for a Stock Pollutant with Endogenous Abatement Costs and Asymmetric Information," Studies in Economic Theory, in: Graciela Chichilnisky & Armon Rezai (ed.), The Economics of the Global Environment, pages 493-533, Springer.
    12. Armon Rezai & Duncan K. Foley & Lance Taylor, 2016. "Global Warming and Economic Externalities," Studies in Economic Theory, in: Graciela Chichilnisky & Armon Rezai (ed.), The Economics of the Global Environment, pages 447-470, Springer.
    13. Kitti, Mitri, 2018. "Sustainable social choice under risk," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 19-31.
    14. Christian Traeger, 2014. "Why uncertainty matters: discounting under intertemporal risk aversion and ambiguity," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 56(3), pages 627-664, August.
    15. repec:ipg:wpaper:2013-002 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Jean-Marc Burniaux & Joaquim Oliveira Martins, 2016. "Carbon Leakages: A General Equilibrium View," Studies in Economic Theory, in: Graciela Chichilnisky & Armon Rezai (ed.), The Economics of the Global Environment, pages 341-363, Springer.
    17. repec:ipg:wpaper:2 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Figuières, Charles & Long, Ngo Van & Tidball, Mabel, 2017. "The MBR intertemporal choice criterion and Rawls’ just savings principle," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 11-22.
    19. John Chipman & Guoqiang Tian, 2012. "Detrimental externalities, pollution rights, and the “Coase theorem”," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 49(2), pages 309-327, February.
    20. Verchère, Alban, 2011. "Le développement durable en question : analyses économiques autour d’un improbable compromis entre acceptions optimiste et pessimiste du rapport de l’Homme à la Nature," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 87(3), pages 337-403, septembre.
    21. Jean-Pierre Drugeon & Thai Ha Huy, 2022. "A not so myopic axiomatization of discounting," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 73(1), pages 349-376, February.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Sustainability; Intergenerational equity; Chichilnisky’s criterion; Natural resources; O40; Q01; Q2; Q3; Q5;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics

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