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Intergenerational Equity and the Forest Management Problem


  • Mitra, Tapan

    (Cornell U)


The paper re-examines the foundations of representation of intertemporal preferences that satisfy intergenerational equity, and provides an axiomatic characterization of those social welfare relations, which are representable by the utilitarian ordering, in ranking consumption sequences which are eventually identical. A maximal point of this ordering is characterized in a standard model of forest management. Maximal paths are shown to converge over time to the forest with the maximum sustained yield, thereby providing a theoretical basis for the tradition in forest management, which has emphasized the goal of maximum sustained yield. Further, it is seen that a maximal point coincides with the optimal point according to the well-known overtaking criterion. This result indicates that the more restrictive overtaking criterion is inessential for a study of forest management under intergenerational equity, and provides a more satisfactory basis for the standard forestry model.

Suggested Citation

  • Mitra, Tapan, 2004. "Intergenerational Equity and the Forest Management Problem," Working Papers 04-17, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:corcae:04-17

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Peter A. Diamond & Tjalling C. Koopmans & Richard E. Williamson, 1962. "Stationary Utility and Time Preference," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 142, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    2. Kaushik Basu & Tapan Mitra, 2003. "Aggregating Infinite Utility Streams with InterGenerational Equity: The Impossibility of Being Paretian," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1557-1563, September.
    3. D. Gale, 1967. "A Geometric Duality Theorem with Economic Applications," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(1), pages 19-24.
    4. Mitra, Tapan & Wan, Henry Jr., 1986. "On the faustmann solution to the forest management problem," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 229-249, December.
    5. McKenzie, Lionel W., 2005. "Optimal economic growth, turnpike theorems and comparative dynamics," Handbook of Mathematical Economics,in: K. J. Arrow & M.D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Mathematical Economics, edition 2, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1281-1355 Elsevier.
    6. Samuelson, Paul A, 1976. "Economics of Forestry in an Evolving Society," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(4), pages 466-492, December.
    7. Basu, Kaushik & Mitra, Tapan, 2007. "Utilitarianism for infinite utility streams: A new welfare criterion and its axiomatic characterization," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 133(1), pages 350-373, March.
    8. Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1959. "Stationary Ordinal Utility and Impatience," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 81, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    9. Gerard Debreu, 1959. "Topological Methods in Cardinal Utility Theory," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 76, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    10. Gerard Debreu & Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1980. "Additively Decomposed Quasiconvex Functions," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 574, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    11. Svensson, Lars-Gunnar, 1980. "Equity among Generations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(5), pages 1251-1256, July.
    12. Yaari, Menahem E, 1977. "A Note on Separability and Quasiconcavity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(5), pages 1183-1186, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Khan, M. Ali & Piazza, Adriana, 2011. "Classical turnpike theory and the economics of forestry," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 194-210, August.
    2. Basu, Kaushik & Mitra, Tapan, 2007. "Utilitarianism for infinite utility streams: A new welfare criterion and its axiomatic characterization," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 133(1), pages 350-373, March.
    3. M. Khan & Alexander Zaslavski, 2010. "On locally optimal programs in the Robinson–Solow–Srinivasan model," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 99(1), pages 65-92, February.
    4. Adriana Piazza, 2010. "About optimal harvesting policies for a multiple species forest without discounting," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 100(3), pages 217-233, July.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • D90 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - General
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
    • Q23 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Forestry


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