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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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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Robert D. Cairns & Stellio Del Campo & Vincent Martinet, 2016. "Sustainability of an economy relying on two reproducible assets," Working Papers 2016/03, INRA, Economie Publique.
    2. Roman, Philippe & Thiry, Géraldine, 2016. "The inclusive wealth index. A critical appraisal," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 185-192.
    3. 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.
    4. Bretschger, Lucas, 2015. "Greening Economy, Graying Society," MPRA Paper 66218, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Fleurbaey, Marc, 2015. "On sustainability and social welfare," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 34-53.
    6. 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, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(9), pages 1-18, September.
    7. Gerlagh, Reyer, 2017. "Generous Sustainability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 94-100.
    8. 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, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(7), pages 1-20, July.
    9. repec:eee:resene:v:51:y:2018:i:c:p:18-27 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. John M. Hartwick & Ngo Van Long, 2017. "Sustainability with endogenous discounting," CIRANO Working Papers 2017s-19, CIRANO.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    sustained development; growth; maximin; sustainability indicator;

    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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