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An Environmental-Economic Measure of Sustainable Development

  • Robert D. Cairns
  • Vincent Martinet

A central issue in the study of sustainable development is the interplay of growth and sacrifice in a dynamic economy. This paper investigates the relationship among current consumption, growth, and sustained consumption in two canonical, stylized economies and in a more general context. It is found that the maximin value measures what is sustainable and provides the limit to growth. Maximin value is interpreted as an environmental-economic carrying capacity and current consumption or utility as an environmental-economic footprint. The time derivative of maximin value is interpreted as net investment in sustainability improvement. It is called durable savings to distinguish it from genuine savings, usually computed with discounted utilitarian prices.

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File URL: http://economix.fr/pdf/dt/2012/WP_EcoX_2012-02.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX in its series EconomiX Working Papers with number 2012-2.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:drm:wpaper:2012-2
Contact details of provider: Postal: 200 Avenue de la République, Bât. G - 92001 Nanterre Cedex
Web page: http://economix.fr
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  1. Burmeister, Edwin & Hammond, P J, 1977. "Maximin Paths of Heterogeneous Capital Accumulation and the Instability of Paradoxical Steady States," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(4), pages 853-70, May.
  2. Humberto Llavador & John E. Roemer & Joaquim Silvestre, 2009. "A Dynamic Analysis of Human Welfare in a Warming Planet," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1673R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  3. Asheim, Geir B., 2005. "Can NNP be used for welfare comparisons?," Memorandum 24/2005, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  4. repec:ecl:ucdeco:09-5 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Antoine d'Autume & Katheline Schubert, 2009. "Zero discounting and optimal paths of depletion of an exhaustible resource with an amenity value," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 09012, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
  6. Asheim, G.B. & Buchholz, W. & Tungodden, B., 1999. "Justifying Sustainability," Papers 5/99, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration-.
  7. Hartwick, John M, 1977. "Intergenerational Equity and the Investing of Rents from Exhaustible Resources," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(5), pages 972-74, December.
  8. Tapan, Mitra & Asheim, Geir B. & Buchholz, Wolfgang & Withagen, Cees, 2012. "Characterizing the Sustainability Problem in an Exhaustible Resource Model," Memorandum 08/2012, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  9. Cairns, Robert D. & Long, Ngo Van, 2006. "Maximin: a direct approach to sustainability," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(03), pages 275-300, June.
  10. Doyen, L. & Martinet, V., 2012. "Maximin, viability and sustainability," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 1414-1430.
  11. Dasgupta, Partha & M Ler, Karl-G Ran, 2000. "Net national product, wealth, and social well-being," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(01), pages 69-93, February.
  12. Pezzey, J.C.V.John C. V., 2004. "One-sided sustainability tests with amenities, and changes in technology, trade and population," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 613-631, July.
  13. Cairns, Robert D. & Tian, Huilan, 2010. "Sustained development of a society with a renewable resource," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 1048-1061, June.
  14. Chichilnisky, Graciela & Heal, Geoffrey & Beltratti, Andrea, 1995. "The Green Golden Rule," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 175-179, August.
  15. Partha Dasgupta, 2009. "The Welfare Economic Theory of Green National Accounts," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 42(1), pages 3-38, January.
  16. Asheim, Geir B. & Buchholz, Wolfgang & Hartwick, John M. & Mitra, Tapan & Withagen, Cees, 2007. "Constant savings rates and quasi-arithmetic population growth under exhaustible resource constraints," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 213-229, March.
  17. Martinet, V. & Doyen, L., 2007. "Sustainability of an economy with an exhaustible resource: A viable control approach," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 17-39, January.
  18. Asheim, Geir B, 1994. " Net National Product as an Indicator of Sustainability," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 96(2), pages 257-65.
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