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Economics of technological change and the natural environment: how effective are innovations as a remedy for resource scarcity?

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Abstract

The paper aims to substantiate the importance of endogenous innovations when evaluating the compatibility of natural resource use and economic development. It explains that technological change has the potential to compensate for natural resource scarcity, diminishing returns to capital, poor input substitution, and material balance restrictions, but is limited by various restrictions like fading returns to innovative investments and rising research costs. It also shows how innovative activities are fostered by accurate price signals and research-favouring sectoral change. The simultaneous effects of increasing technical knowledge, decreasing resource inputs, and increasing world population largely determine the chances of long-run sustainable development. Consequently, future research has to be directed at a more thorough understanding of the mechanisms driving innovations in the presence of natural resource scarcity.

Suggested Citation

  • Lucas Bretschger, 2003. "Economics of technological change and the natural environment: how effective are innovations as a remedy for resource scarcity?," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 03/27, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich, revised Jun 2004.
  • Handle: RePEc:eth:wpswif:03-27
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    Cited by:

    1. Asjad Naqvi & Engelbert Stockhammer, 2017. "Directed technological change in a post-Keynesian ecological macromodel," Working Papers PKWP1714, Post Keynesian Economics Study Group (PKSG).
    2. Di Maria, Corrado & Valente, Simone, 2006. "The Direction of Technical Change in Capital-Resource Economies," MPRA Paper 1040, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Fagnart, Jean-François & Germain, Marc, 2011. "Quantitative versus qualitative growth with recyclable resource," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(5), pages 929-941, March.
    4. Farwa Amjad & Bilal Mehmood, 2016. "Dynamics of FDI, Technological Transformation and Environmental Degradation in Developing Countries: A Panel Analysis," Romanian Economic Journal, Department of International Business and Economics from the Academy of Economic Studies Bucharest, vol. 18(59), pages 3-24, March.
    5. Busch, Timo & Hoffmann, Volker H., 2007. "Emerging carbon constraints for corporate risk management," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3-4), pages 518-528, May.
    6. Ricci, Francesco, 2007. "Channels of transmission of environmental policy to economic growth: A survey of the theory," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(4), pages 688-699, February.
    7. Nick Hanley & Karen Turner, 2009. "How do improvements in labour productivity in the Scottish economy affect the UK position on the Environmental Kuznets Curve?," Working Papers 0915, University of Strathclyde Business School, Department of Economics.
    8. Uehara, Takuro, 2013. "Ecological threshold and ecological economic threshold: Implications from an ecological economic model with adaptation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 374-384.
    9. Janine De Fence & Nick Hanley & Karen Turner, 2009. "Do Productivity Improvements Move Us Along the Environmental Kuznets Curve?," Working Papers 0908, University of Strathclyde Business School, Department of Economics.
    10. Costantini, Valeria & Crespi, Francesco, 2008. "Environmental regulation and the export dynamics of energy technologies," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 447-460, June.
    11. Alfred Endres, 2008. "Ein Unmöglichkeitstheorem für die Klimapolitik?," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 9(3), pages 350-382, August.
    12. Stern, David I., 2010. "The Role of Energy in Economic Growth," Working Papers 249380, Australian National University, Centre for Climate Economics & Policy.
    13. Kim, Jung Eun, 2014. "Energy security and climate change: How oil endowment influences alternative vehicle innovation," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 400-410.
    14. Martin de Wit & Matthew Kuperus Heun & Douglas J Crookes, 2013. "An overview of salient factors, relationships and values to support integrated energy-economic systems dynamic modelling," Working Papers 02/2013, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    15. Ediger, Volkan S. & Hosgor, Enes & Surmeli, A. Nesen & Tatlidil, Huseyin, 2007. "Fossil fuel sustainability index: An application of resource management," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 2969-2977, May.
    16. Boons, Frank & Wagner, Marcus, 2009. "Assessing the relationship between economic and ecological performance: Distinguishing system levels and the role of innovation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 1908-1914, May.
    17. repec:ucm:wpaper:05-13 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Bazhanov, Andrei, 2008. "Sustainable growth in a resource-based economy: the extraction-saving relationship," MPRA Paper 12350, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Growiec, Jakub & Schumacher, Ingmar, 2008. "On technical change in the elasticities of resource inputs," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 210-221, December.
    20. Bretschger, Lucas, 2015. "Greening Economy, Graying Society," MPRA Paper 66218, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    21. Zhang, Yujiang & Feng, Guorui & Zhang, Min & Ren, Hongrui & Bai, Jinwen & Guo, Yuxia & Jiang, Haina & Kang, Lixun, 2016. "Residual coal exploitation and its impact on sustainable development of the coal industry in China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 534-541.
    22. Isabel Álvarez González & Romilio Labra, 2013. "Identifying the role of natural resources in knowledge-based strategies of development," Working Papers del Instituto Complutense de Estudios Internacionales 1305, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Instituto Complutense de Estudios Internacionales.
    23. Nguyen, Manh-Hung & Nguyen-Van, Phu, 2010. "Growth and convergence in a model with renewable and non-renewable resources: existence, transitional dynamics, and empirical evidence," TSE Working Papers 10-210, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).

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    Keywords

    endogenous technological change; environment; natural resources; sustainability;

    JEL classification:

    • Q20 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - General
    • Q30 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - General
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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