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Income Inequality and the Development of Environmental Technologies

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Abstract

Within rich countries, a large dispersion in the capacity of generating environmental innovations appears correlated to the level of inequality. Previous works analyse the relationship between inequality and environmental quality in a static setting. This paper builds a dynamic model more suitable to analyze technological externalities driven by the emergence of a new demand for green products. Under fairly general assumptions on technology and preferences, we show that: 1. the relationship between inequality and environmental innovation is highly non-linear and crucially depends on per-capita income; 2. an excessive inequality harms the development of environmental technologies especially in rich countries. Key to our results is the fact that externalities generated by pioneer consumers of green products benefit the entire population only for relatively low income distances. The empirical analysis robustly confirms our theoretical results, that is: whereas for rich countries inequality negatively affects the diffusion of innovations, per-capita income is paramount in poorer ones.

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  • Francesco Vona & Fabrizio Patriarca, 2010. "Income Inequality and the Development of Environmental Technologies," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2010-22, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
  • Handle: RePEc:fce:doctra:1022
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    Cited by:

    1. Zhang, Chuanguo & Zhao, Wei, 2014. "Panel estimation for income inequality and CO2 emissions: A regional analysis in China," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 382-392.
    2. repec:exl:25engi:v:28:y:2017:i:3:p:232-239 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Grazia Cecere & Nicoletta Corrocher & Cédric Gossart & Muge Ozman, 2014. "Lock-in and path dependence: an evolutionary approach to eco-innovations," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 24(5), pages 1037-1065, November.
    4. repec:eee:ecolec:v:143:y:2018:i:c:p:294-313 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Francesco Vona & Francesco Nicolli, 2013. "Energy market liberalisation and renewable energy policies in OECD countries," Working Papers hal-00973070, HAL.
    6. Balint, T. & Lamperti, F. & Mandel, A. & Napoletano, M. & Roventini, A. & Sapio, A., 2017. "Complexity and the Economics of Climate Change: A Survey and a Look Forward," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 252-265.
    7. Francesco Vona & Francesco Nicolli & Lionel Nesta, 2012. "Determinants of renewable energy innovation: environmental policies vs. market regulation," Sciences Po publications 2012-05, Sciences Po.
    8. Francesco Nicolli & Francesco Vona, 2012. "The evolution of renewable energy policy in OECD countries: aggregate indicators and determinants," Sciences Po publications 2012-13, Sciences Po.
    9. Charlier, Dorothée & Risch, Anna & Salmon, Claire, 2018. "Energy Burden Alleviation and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction: Can We Reach Two Objectives With One Policy?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 294-313.
    10. Patriarca, Fabrizio & Vona, Francesco, 2013. "Structural change and income distribution: An inverted-U relationship," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 1641-1658.
    11. Romano, Antonio A. & Scandurra, Giuseppe & Carfora, Alfonso & Fodor, Mate, 2017. "Renewable investments: The impact of green policies in developing and developed countries," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 68(P1), pages 738-747.
    12. Alexandre BERTHE & Luc ELIE, 2014. "Les conséquences environnementales des inégalités économiques : structuration théorique et perspectives de recherche (In French)," Cahiers du GREThA 2014-18, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
    13. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/f6h8764enu2lskk9p544jc8op is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Andrea Mantovani & Ornella Tarola & Cecilia Vergari, 2014. "Hedonic quality, social norms, and environmental campaigns," Working Papers 2014/36, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    15. Esposito, Piero & Patriarca, Fabrizio & Perini, Luigi & Salvati, Luca, 2013. "Economic Convergence with Divergence in Environmental Quality? Desertification Risk and the Economic Structure of a Mediterranean Country (1960-2010)," MPRA Paper 52601, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Piero Esposito & Fabrzio Patriarca & Luigi Perini & Luca Salvati, 2016. "Land degradation, economic growth and structural change: evidences from Italy," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 431-448, April.
    17. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/eu4vqp9ompqllr09j0h0ji242 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Tomas Balint & Francesco Lamperti & Antoine Mandel & Mauro Napoletano & Andrea Roventini & Sandro Sapio, 2017. "Complexity and the economics of climate change : a survey and a look foreward," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/1nlv566svi8, Sciences Po.
    19. Dorothée Charlier & Anna Risch & Claire Salmon, 2016. "Reducing the Energy Burden of the Poor and Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Can We Kill Two Birds with One Stone?," Policy Papers 2016.01, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.
    20. Saari, M. Yusof & Dietzenbacher, Erik & Los, Bart, 2016. "The impacts of petroleum price fluctuations on income distribution across ethnic groups in Malaysia," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 25-36.
    21. Berthe, Alexandre & Elie, Luc, 2015. "Mechanisms explaining the impact of economic inequality on environmental deterioration," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 191-200.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inequality; Demand; Environmental Innovations; Pioneer Consumer.;

    JEL classification:

    • Q55 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

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