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Threshold Preferences and the Environment

  • Schumacher, Ingmar

    (Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University)

  • Zou, Benteng

    (Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University)

In this article we study the implication of thresholds in preferences. To model this we extend the basic model of John and Pecchenino (1994) by allowing the current level of environmental quality to have a discrete impact on how an agent trades off future consumption and environmental quality. Thus, we endogenize the semi-elasticity of utility based on a step function. We find that for low (high) thresholds, environmental quality converges to a low (high) steady state. For intermediate levels it converges to a stable p-cycle, with environmental quality being asymptotically bounded below and above by the low and high steady state. As policy implications we study shifts in the threshold. Costless shifts of the threshold are always worthwhile. If it is costly to change the threshold, then it is worthwhile to change the threshold if the threshold originally was sufficiently low. Lump-sum taxes lead to a development trap and a proportional income tax should be preferred.

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File URL: https://pub.uni-bielefeld.de/download/2674154/2674155
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Paper provided by Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University in its series Center for Mathematical Economics Working Papers with number 484.

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Date of creation: 30 Apr 2014
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Handle: RePEc:bie:wpaper:484
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  1. Schumacher, Ingmar & Zou, Benteng, 2015. "Threshold preferences and the environment," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 17-27.
  2. Jouvet, Pierre-Andre & Michel, Philippe & Rotillon, Gilles, 2005. "Optimal growth with pollution: how to use pollution permits?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 29(9), pages 1597-1609, September.
  3. Ingmar Schumacher, 2009. "The dynamics of Environmentalism and the Environment," Working Papers hal-00392379, HAL.
  4. Samuel Bowles, 1998. "Endogenous Preferences: The Cultural Consequences of Markets and Other Economic Institutions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 75-111, March.
  5. John, A & Pecchenino, R, 1994. "An Overlapping Generations Model of Growth and the Environment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(427), pages 1393-1410, November.
  6. Bisin, A. & Verdier, T., 1997. "The Economics of Cultural Transmission and the Dynamics of Preferences," DELTA Working Papers 97-03, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  7. Prieur, Fabien & Bréchet, Thierry, 2013. "Can Education Be Good For Both Growth And The Environment?," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(05), pages 1135-1157, July.
  8. Susie Lee & Ingmar Schumacher, 2011. "When does financial sector (in)stability induce financial reforms?," Working Papers hal-00637954, HAL.
  9. Gelso, Brett R. & Peterson, Jeffrey M., 2005. "The influence of ethical attitudes on the demand for environmental recreation: incorporating lexicographic preferences," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 35-45, April.
  10. Michael Lockwood, 1996. "Non‐Compensatory Preference Structures In Non‐Market Valuation Of Natural Area Policy," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 40(2), pages 85-101, 08.
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  12. Glomm, Gerhard & Ravikumar, B., 1997. "Productive government expenditures and long-run growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 183-204, January.
  13. Lockwood, Michael, 1996. "Non-Compensatory Preference Structures In Non-Market Valuation Of Natural Area Policy," Australian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 40(02), August.
  14. Danny Campbell & W. George Hutchinson & Riccardo Scarpa, 2007. "Incorporating Discontinuous Preferences into the Analysis of Discrete Choice Experiments," Working Papers in Economics 07/18, University of Waikato, Department of Economics.
  15. Goulão, Catarina & Pérez-Barahona, Agustín, 2011. "Intergenerational transmission of non-communicable chronic diseases," TSE Working Papers 11-219, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  16. Harl E. Ryder & Geoffrey M. Heal, 1973. "Optimal Growth with Intertemporally Dependent Preferences," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(1), pages 1-31.
  17. Wan, Henry, 1970. "Optimal Saving Programs under Intertemporally Dependent Preferences," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 11(3), pages 521-47, October.
  18. Thomas H. Stevens & Jaime Echeverria & Ronald J. Glass & Tim Hager & Thomas A. More, 1991. "Measuring the Existence Value of Wildlife: What Do CVM Estimates Really Show?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 67(4), pages 390-400.
  19. John M. Gowdy, 1997. "The Value of Biodiversity: Markets, Society, and Ecosystems," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 73(1), pages 25-41.
  20. Schumacher, Ingmar & Zou, Benteng, 2008. "Pollution perception: A challenge for intergenerational equity," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 296-309, May.
  21. Marschak, T A, 1978. "On the Study of Taste Changing Policies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 386-91, May.
  22. Spash, Clive L., 2000. "Ecosystems, contingent valuation and ethics: the case of wetland re-creation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 195-215, August.
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