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Sustainability and Substitution of Exhaustible Natural Resources. How resource prices affect long-term R&D investments

Author

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  • Lucas Bretschger

    (WIF – Institute of Economic Research, ETH-Zentrum, Zurich, Switzerland)

  • Sjak Smulders

    (Department of Economics, Tilburg University, The Netherlands)

Abstract

Traditional resource economics has been criticised for assuming too high elasticities of substitution, not observing material balance principles and relying too much on planner solutions to obtain long-term growth. By analysing a multi-sector R&D-based endogenous growth model with exhaustible natural resources, labour, knowledge, and physical capital as inputs, the present paper addresses this critique. We study transitional dynamics and the long-term growth path and identify conditions under which firms keep spending on research and development. We demonstrate that long-run growth can be sustained under free market conditions even when elasticities of substitution between capital and resources are low and the supply of physical capital is limited, which seems to be crucial for today’s sustainability debate.

Suggested Citation

  • Lucas Bretschger & Sjak Smulders, 2003. "Sustainability and Substitution of Exhaustible Natural Resources. How resource prices affect long-term R&D investments," Working Papers 2003.87, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2003.87
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Growth: With or Without Scale Effects?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 139-144, May.
    3. Grimaud, Andre & Rouge, Luc, 2003. "Non-renewable resources and growth with vertical innovations: optimum, equilibrium and economic policies," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 45(2, Supple), pages 433-453, March.
    4. Withagen, Cees & B. Asheim, Geir, 1998. "Characterizing sustainability: The converse of Hartwick's rule," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 159-165, September.
    5. 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, vol. 57(3), pages 369-391, July.
    6. Hartwick, John M, 1977. "Intergenerational Equity and the Investing of Rents from Exhaustible Resources," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(5), pages 972-974, December.
    7. 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.
    8. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Endogenous Technological Change," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 71-102, October.
    9. Bovenberg, A.L. & Smulders, J.A., 1993. "Environmental quality and pollution-saving technological change in a two-sector endogenous growth model," Discussion Paper 1993-21, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    10. 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.
    11. Poul Schou, 2000. "Polluting Non-Renewable Resources and Growth," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 16(2), pages 211-227, June.
    12. Christian Scholz & Georg Ziemes, 1999. "Exhaustible Resources, Monopolistic Competition, and Endogenous Growth," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 13(2), pages 169-185, March.
    13. 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.
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    15. Jones, Charles I, 1995. "R&D-Based Models of Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 759-784, August.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Di Maria, Corrado & Valente, Simone, 2006. "The Direction of Technical Change in Capital-Resource Economies," MPRA Paper 1040, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Fagnart, Jean-François & Germain, Marc, 2011. "Quantitative versus qualitative growth with recyclable resource," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(5), pages 929-941, March.
    3. Valente, Simone, 2008. "Intergenerational transfers, lifetime welfare, and resource preservation," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(01), pages 53-78, February.
    4. Simone Valente, 2005. "Genuine dissaving and optimal growth," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 05/38, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
    5. Jean-Pierre Amigues & Ngo Van Long & Michel Moreaux, 2004. "Overcoming Natural Resource Constraints Through R&D," CIRANO Working Papers 2004s-14, CIRANO.
    6. Simone Valente, 2006. "Trade, Envy and Growth: International Status Seeking in a Two-Country World," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 06/53, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
    7. Dagmar Nelissen & Till Requate, 2007. "Pollution-reducing and resource-saving technological progress," International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 6(1), pages 5-44.
    8. Lucas Bretschger & Simone Valente, 2011. "International trade and net investment: theory and evidence," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 197-224, June.
    9. Manh Hung NGUYEN & Phu Nguyen-Van, 2008. "Growth and convergence in a model with renewable and nonrenewable resources," LERNA Working Papers 08.28.272, LERNA, University of Toulouse.
    10. Francesco Ricci, 2007. "Environmental policy and growth when inputs are differentiated in pollution intensity," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 38(3), pages 285-310, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Growth; Non-renewable resources; Substitution; Investment incentives; Endogenous technological change; 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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