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Time-separable Utility, Leisure and Human Capital Accumulation: What New Implications for the Environment-Growth Nexus?

  • Xavier Pautrel

    (Nantes Atlantique Université Laboratoire d’Économie et de Management de Nantes (LEMNA), Institut d’Économie et de Management de Nantes - IEA)

Using a time-separable utility function where leisure is introduced through the disutility of working time and is adjusted for quality, as measured by human capital to capture home production, we demonstrate that the environmental policy is harmful for growth. A tighter environmental tax reduces the incentives to educate by increasing leisure time and lowers the steady-state growth rate and lifetime welfare, whatever the source of pollution. We also demonstrate that the intertemporal elasticity of substitution in labor supply plays a crucial role in the marginal impact of the environmental tax on growth and welfare. When the positive influence of human capital is added into preferences (by explicitly modelling the home production sector), we find that the environmental policy promotes steady-state growth. This result challenges the finding by Hettich (1998) according to which, in the presence of leisure, the environmental tax does not affect human capital accumulation if the source of pollution is output.

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Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2009.104.

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Date of creation: Nov 2009
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Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2009.104
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  1. Jess Benhabib & Richard Rogerson & Randall Wright, 1991. "Homework in macroeconomics: household production and aggregate fluctuations," Staff Report 135, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. André Grimaud & Frederic Tournemaine, 2007. "Why can an environmental policy tax promote growth through the channel of education?," Working Papers 22635, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France.
  3. Xavier Pautrel, 2006. "Reconsidering The Impact of Environment on Long-Run Growth When Pollution Influences Health and Agents Have Finite-Lifetime," Working Papers 2006.93, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  4. Gian Maria Milesi-Ferretti & Nouriel Roubini, 1995. "Growth Effects of Income and Consumption Taxes: Positive and Normative Analysis," Working Papers 95-18, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  5. William A. Brock & M. Scott Taylor, 2004. "Economic Growth and the Environment: A Review of Theory and Empirics," NBER Working Papers 10854, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Cassou, Steven P. & Lansing, Kevin J., 1998. "Optimal fiscal policy, public capital, and the productivity slowdown," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 911-935, June.
  7. Bovenberg, A. Lans & Heijdra, Ben J., 1998. "Environmental tax policy and intergenerational distribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 1-24, January.
  8. Xepapadeas, Anastasios, 2005. "Economic growth and the environment," Handbook of Environmental Economics, in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 23, pages 1219-1271 Elsevier.
  9. Steven P. Cassou & Kevin J. Lansing, 2004. "Tax reform with useful public expenditures," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 98-09, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  10. Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria & Roubini, Nouriel, 1998. "On the taxation of human and physical capital in models of endogenous growth," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 237-254, November.
  11. Smulders, J.A. & Gradus, R.H.J.M., 1993. "The trade-off between environmental care and long-term growth : Pollution in three proto-type growth models," Other publications TiSEM f3ec6de7-f996-4ac0-b872-0, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  12. Collard, Fabrice, 1998. "Spectral and persistence properties of cyclical growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 463-488, November.
  13. Hercowitz, Zvi & Sampson, Michael, 1991. "Output Growth, the Real Wage, and Employment Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1215-37, December.
  14. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1982. "Time to Build and Aggregate Fluctuations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1345-70, November.
  15. John Y. Campbell & Sydney Ludvigson, 1997. "Elasticities of substitution in real business cycle models with home production," Research Paper 9733, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  16. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Huffman, Gregory W, 1988. "Investment, Capacity Utilization, and the Real Business Cycle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(3), pages 402-17, June.
  17. Milesi-Ferretti, Gian Maria & Roubini, Nouriel, 1998. "Growth Effects of Income and Consumption Taxes," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 30(4), pages 721-44, November.
  18. Ortigueira, Salvador & Santos, Manuel S, 1997. "On the Speed of Convergence in Endogenous Growth Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 383-99, June.
  19. Heckman, James J, 1976. "A Life-Cycle Model of Earnings, Learning, and Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages S11-44, August.
  20. Frank Hettich, 1998. "Growth effects of a revenue-neutral environmental tax reform," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 67(3), pages 287-316, October.
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