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Transitional Dynamics to Optimal Sustainable Growth


  • Musu, Ignazio


This paper presents a simple model of optimal sustainable growth when the environmental stock enters the consumers' utility function and production depends on produced capital and on a flow of environmental services. Endogenous growth is obtained by making the productivity growth of the environmental services dependent on past capital accumulation. Both the effect of environmental preservation on the consumers' utility function and the effect of past capital accumulation on the productivity of environmental services are seen as externalities, which are internalized along an optimal growth path. Optimal growth is sustainable when the use of the environmental asset for production is equal to the regeneration capacity of the environment. The paper describes the features of the optimal sustainable balanced growth path: it is shown that the form of the utility function is crucial in obtaining it. The transitional dynamics to the balanced path are discussed showing that, under not unreasonable assumptions concerning the structure of preferences, the path leading to sustainable balanced growth may either be completely unstable or exhibit indeterminacy. This creates problems in defining an appropriate environmental policy, which is shown to require a combination of emission taxes and a subsidy to capital accumulation.

Suggested Citation

  • Musu, Ignazio, 1996. "Transitional Dynamics to Optimal Sustainable Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 1282, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1282

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    Cited by:

    1. Sjak Smulders, 1995. "Entropy, environment, and endogenous economic growth," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 2(2), pages 319-340, August.
    2. Ricci, Francesco, 2007. "Channels of transmission of environmental policy to economic growth: A survey of the theory," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(4), pages 688-699, February.
    3. Donna Ramirez Harrington & Madhu Khanna & David Zilberman, 2005. "Conservation capital and sustainable economic growth," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(2), pages 336-359, April.
    4. Maciocco, Giovanni & Dessi, Barbara & Battista Masia, Giovanni & Steingut, Ilene & Venturi, Beatrice, 1999. "Processes of Territorial Transformation: Autopoietic Systems in Planning and the Theory of Chaos," ERSA conference papers ersa99pa415, European Regional Science Association.
    5. Carlo Carraro, 1998. "New Economic Theories," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 11(3), pages 365-381, April.
    6. José Manuel Madeira Belbute & Paulo Brito, 2009. "On the Relation Between the Endogenous Growth Rate of the Economy and the Dynamics of Renewable Resources," Economics Working Papers 07_2009, University of Évora, Department of Economics (Portugal).
    7. repec:wsi:igtrxx:v:08:y:2006:i:03:n:s0219198906000977 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. F. Cabo, 2001. "Towards an ecological technology for global growth in a North-South trade model," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(1), pages 15-41.

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    Endogenous Growth; Environmental Economics;


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