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Sector-Level Decisions in a Sustainability-Constrained Economy


  • Richard T. Woodward
  • Richard C. Bishop


Despite two decades of debate, there remains little consensus about what sustainability is, and how it should be achieved. Economists primarily portray sustainability as a macro-level concern, but there has been less attention on the implications of this social objective for policies related to the management of individual resources. This paper derives guidance for sector-level planning and project analysis from a macro-level norm of intergenerational fairness. Optimal sustainable management involves making tradeoffs between sectors. We derive a criteria for sector-level planning and project analysis that help make those tradeoffs without losing site of the sustainability goal.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard T. Woodward & Richard C. Bishop, 2003. "Sector-Level Decisions in a Sustainability-Constrained Economy," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 79(1), pages 1-14.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:landec:v:79:y:2003:i:1:p:1-14

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Avinash Dixit & Peter Hammond & Michael Hoel, 1980. "On Hartwick's Rule for Regular Maximin Paths of Capital Accumulation and Resource Depletion," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(3), pages 551-556.
    2. Asheim, Geir B. & Buchholz, Wolfgang & Tungodden, Bertil, 2001. "Justifying Sustainability," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 252-268, May.
    3. Richard B. Howarth, 1995. "Sustainability under Uncertainty: A Deontological Approach," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 71(4), pages 417-427.
    4. Michael C. Farmer & Alan Randall, 1997. "Policies for Sustainability: Lessons from an Overlapping Generations Model," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 73(4), pages 608-622.
    5. Hartwick, John M, 1977. "Intergenerational Equity and the Investing of Rents from Exhaustible Resources," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(5), pages 972-974, December.
    6. Partha Dasgupta & Geoffrey Heal, 1974. "The Optimal Depletion of Exhaustible Resources," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(5), pages 3-28.
    7. Guillermo Calvo, 1978. "Some Notes on Time Inconsistency and Rawls' Maximin Criterion," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 45(1), pages 97-102.
    8. Jean-Paul Chavas, 1994. "Equity Considerations in Economic and Policy Analysis," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1022-1033.
    9. Bromley, Daniel W., 1989. "Entitlements, missing markets, and environmental uncertainty," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 181-194, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rodrigues, Joao & Domingos, Tiago & Giljum, Stefan & Schneider, Francois, 2006. "Designing an indicator of environmental responsibility," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 256-266, September.
    2. repec:wsi:wepxxx:v:03:y:2017:i:02:n:s2382624x16500089 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Alan Randall, 2014. "Weak sustainability, conservation and precaution," Chapters,in: Handbook of Sustainable Development, chapter 10, pages 160-172 Edward Elgar Publishing.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q30 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - General


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