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Optimal Pollution, Optimal Population, and Sustainability

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  • Ulla Lehmijoki
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    This paper develops a long-run consumer optimization model with endogenous pollution and endogenous population. The positive check increases mortality if pollution increases. The optimal path is sustainable if it provides non-decreasing consumption for a non-decreasing population. As usually, optimality and sustainability may conflict; with population endogenous to pollution, this conflict may ultimately lead the human species toward self-imposed extinction. Not even technical progress can warrant sustainability.

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    File URL: http://degit.sam.sdu.dk/papers/degit_17/C017_044.pdf
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    Paper provided by DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade in its series DEGIT Conference Papers with number c017_044.

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    Length: 22 pages
    Date of creation: Sep 2012
    Handle: RePEc:deg:conpap:c017_044
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    Web page: http://degit.sam.sdu.dk/
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    1. Smulders, Sjak & Gradus, Raymond, 1996. "Pollution abatement and long-term growth," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 505-532, November.
    2. Sjak Smulders & Lucas Bretschger & Hannes Egli, 2011. "Economic Growth and the Diffusion of Clean Technologies: Explaining Environmental Kuznets Curves," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 49(1), pages 79-99, May.
    3. R. M. Solow, 1973. "Intergenerational Equity and Exhaustable Resources," Working papers 103, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    4. Benveniste, L. M. & Scheinkman, J. A., 1982. "Duality theory for dynamic optimization models of economics: The continuous time case," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 1-19, June.
    5. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2003. "The Impact of Air Pollution on Infant Mortality: Evidence from Geographic Variation in Pollution Shocks Induced by a Recession," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1121-1167.
    6. Janet Currie & Matthew Neidell, 2004. "Air Pollution and Infant Health: What Can We Learn From California's Recent Experience," NBER Working Papers 10251, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Tahvonen, Olli & Salo, Seppo, 1996. "Nonconvexities in Optimal Pollution Accumulation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 160-177, September.
    8. Evans, Mary F. & Smith, V. Kerry, 2005. "Do new health conditions support mortality-air pollution effects?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 496-518, November.
    9. Pezzey, John C V & Withagen, Cees A, 1998. " The Rise, Fall and Sustainability of Capital-Resource Economies," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 100(2), pages 513-527, June.
    10. Joseph Stiglitz, 1974. "Growth with Exhaustible Natural Resources: Efficient and Optimal Growth Paths," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(5), pages 123-137.
    11. Edward Barbier, 2002. "The Role of Natural Resources in Economic Development," Centre for International Economic Studies Working Papers 2002-27, University of Adelaide, Centre for International Economic Studies.
    12. Michael Kremer, 1993. "Population Growth and Technological Change: One Million B.C. to 1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 681-716.
    13. Robert E. Hall, 1981. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," NBER Working Papers 0720, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Jeffrey A. Krautkraemer, 1985. "Optimal Growth, Resource Amenities and the Preservation of Natural Environments," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(1), pages 153-169.
    15. Tapio Palokangas, 2012. "Clean versus Dirty Economic Growth," DEGIT Conference Papers c017_047, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
    16. C. G. Plourde, 1972. "A Model of Waste Accumulation and Disposal," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 5(1), pages 119-125, February.
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