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An Environmental-Economic Measure of Sustainable Development

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  • Robert D. Cairns
  • Vincent Martinet

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert D. Cairns & Vincent Martinet, 2012. "An Environmental-Economic Measure of Sustainable Development," EconomiX Working Papers 2012-2, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
  • Handle: RePEc:drm:wpaper:2012-2
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    1. Cairns, Robert D. & Martinet, Vincent, 2021. "Growth and long-run sustainability," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 26(4), pages 381-402, August.
    2. Cairns, Robert D. & Del Campo, Stellio & Martinet, Vincent, 2019. "Sustainability of an economy relying on two reproducible assets," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 145-160.
    3. Martinet, Vincent & Del Campo, Stellio & Cairns, Robert D., 2022. "Intragenerational inequality aversion and intergenerational equity," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    4. John M. Hartwick & Ngo Van Long, 2020. "Sustainability with endogenous discounting," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 16(2), pages 216-221, June.
    5. Gerlagh, Reyer, 2017. "Generous Sustainability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 94-100.
    6. Cairns, Robert D., 2018. "Economic Accounting in the Simple Hotelling Model," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 18-27.
    7. Hartwick, John M. & Long, Ngo Van, 2018. "Sustainability with endogenous discounting when utility depends on consumption and amenities," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 31-36.
    8. Roman, Philippe & Thiry, Géraldine, 2016. "The inclusive wealth index. A critical appraisal," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 185-192.
    9. Van Long, Ngo, 2016. "The Impacts of Other-Regarding Preferences and Ethical Choice on Environmental Outcomes: A Review of the Literature," Strategic Behavior and the Environment, now publishers, vol. 6(1-2), pages 1-35, December.
    10. Lucas Bretschger, 2018. "Greening Economy, Graying Society," CER-ETH Press, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich, edition 2, number 18-001.
    11. Fleurbaey, Marc, 2015. "On sustainability and social welfare," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 34-53.
    12. Olga Gorbaneva & Guennady Ougolnitsky, 2022. "Sustainability of Intertwined Supply Networks: A Game-Theoretic Approach," Games, MDPI, vol. 13(3), pages 1-21, April.
    13. Jian Wu & Guangdong Wu & Qing Zhou & Mi Li, 2014. "Spatial Variation of Regional Sustainable Development and its Relationship to the Allocation of Science and Technology Resources," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 6(9), pages 1-18, September.
    14. Siddharth Shankar Rai & Shivam Rai & Nitin Kumar Singh, 2021. "Organizational resilience and social-economic sustainability: COVID-19 perspective," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 23(8), pages 12006-12023, August.
    15. Gennady Ougolnitsky & Olga Gorbaneva, 2022. "Sustainable Management in Active Networks," Mathematics, MDPI, vol. 10(16), pages 1-22, August.
    16. Diana Mihaela Pociovălișteanu & Isabel Novo-Corti & Mirela Ionela Aceleanu & Andreea Claudia Șerban & Eugenia Grecu, 2015. "Employment Policies for a Green Economy at the European Union Level," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 7(7), pages 1-20, July.
    17. Nana Yang & Jiansong Li & Binbin Lu & Minghai Luo & Linze Li, 2019. "Exploring the Spatial Pattern and Influencing Factors of Land Carrying Capacity in Wuhan," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(10), pages 1-16, May.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    sustained development; growth; maximin; sustainability indicator;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O44 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Environment and Growth
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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