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Natural resource scarcity and long-run development: central mechanisms when conditions are seemingly unfavourable

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Abstract

Using a dynamic model with non-renewable natural resources and endogenous knowledge creation, the paper analyses economic development under conditions which are generally considered as most unfavourable. We assume poor substitution between primary input factors, positive population growth and a limited supply of materials in the static part of the framework, as well as natural resources being an essential input into R&D, and constant or decreasing returns to innovative activities in the dynamic part. It is shown that there is an inverse relationship between input substitution and growth-enhancing sectoral change and that labour supply supports economic dynamics through the knowledge-creation effect. A permanent increase in living standards is achievable under free market conditions, but adjustment costs and errors in long-term expectations might impede this development.

Suggested Citation

  • Lucas Bretschger, 2004. "Natural resource scarcity and long-run development: central mechanisms when conditions are seemingly unfavourable," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 03/29, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:eth:wpswif:03-29
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    File URL: http://www.cer.ethz.ch/research/wp_03_29_june05.pdf
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    1. Christian Scholz & Georg Ziemes, 1999. "Exhaustible Resources, Monopolistic Competition, and Endogenous Growth," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, pages 169-185.
    2. Robert Tamura, 2000. "Growth, fertility and human capital: A survey," Spanish Economic Review, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, pages 183-229.
    3. Heal, Geoffrey M., 1993. "The optimal use of exhaustible resources," Handbook of Natural Resource and Energy Economics,in: A. V. Kneese† & J. L. Sweeney (ed.), Handbook of Natural Resource and Energy Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 18, pages 855-880 Elsevier.
    4. Christian Groth & Poul Schou, 2002. "Can non-renewable resources alleviate the knife-edge character of endogenous growth?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(3), pages 386-411, July.
    5. Heal, Geoffrey M., 1993. "The optimal use of exhaustible resources," Handbook of Natural Resource and Energy Economics,in: A. V. Kneese† & J. L. Sweeney (ed.), Handbook of Natural Resource and Energy Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 18, pages 855-880 Elsevier.
    6. R. M. Solow, 1973. "Intergenerational Equity and Exhaustable Resources," Working papers 103, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    7. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 71-102, October.
    8. Lans Bovenberg, A. & Smulders, Sjak, 1995. "Environmental quality and pollution-augmenting technological change in a two-sector endogenous growth model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 369-391.
    9. R. M. Solow, 1974. "Intergenerational Equity and Exhaustible Resources," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(5), pages 29-45.
    10. Bretschger, Lucas, 1998. "How to substitute in order to sustain: knowledge driven growth under environmental restrictions," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(04), pages 425-442, October.
    11. Lans Bovenberg, A. & Smulders, Sjak, 1995. "Environmental quality and pollution-augmenting technological change in a two-sector endogenous growth model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 369-391.
    12. Cleveland, Cutler J. & Ruth, Matthias, 1997. "When, where, and by how much do biophysical limits constrain the economic process?: A survey of Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen's contribution to ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 203-223, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lucas Bretschger & Karen Pittel, 2005. "Innovative Investments, Natural Resources and Intergenerational Fairness: Are Pension Funds Good for Sustainable Development?," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), pages 355-376.
    2. Bretschger, Lucas, 2005. "Economics of technological change and the natural environment: How effective are innovations as a remedy for resource scarcity?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2-3), pages 148-163, August.

    More about this item

    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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