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Sustainability, optimality, and viability in the Ramsey model

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  • Noël Bonneuil
  • Raouf Boucekkine

Abstract

The Ramsey model of economic growth is revisited from the point of view of viability compared to optimality. A viable state is a state from which there exists at least one trajectory in capital, consumption, and reproduction that remains in the set of constraints of minimal consumption and positive wealth. There exists a largest set of viable states, including all others, called the viability kernel. This concept is an interesting addition to those of equilibria and optimal paths. Viability is first presented with a constraint of minimal consumption, then with an additional criterion of economic sustainability in the sense of the Brundtland commission, which amounts to requiring a non-decreasing social welfare. The comparison of viability kernels with or without sustainability shows how much consumption should be reduced and when. One strong mathematical result is that the viable-optimal solution in the sense of inter-temporal consumption is obtained on the viability boundary of an auxiliary system. Varying preference, technological, and demographic parameters randomly over simulated viability kernels with and without the Brundtland criterion help identify the determinants of the non-emptiness of the viability kernel and of its volume: technological progress works against population growth to favor the possibility for a given state of being viable or viable-sustainable.

Suggested Citation

  • Noël Bonneuil & Raouf Boucekkine, 2009. "Sustainability, optimality, and viability in the Ramsey model," Working Papers 2009_34, Business School - Economics, University of Glasgow.
  • Handle: RePEc:gla:glaewp:2009_34
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    Cited by:

    1. Krawczyk, Jacek B & Pharo, Alastair & Simpson, Mark, 2011. "Approximations to viability kernels for sustainable macroeconomic policies," Working Paper Series 1531, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.
    2. Tanguy Isaac, 2013. "Sustainability is compatible with decreasing social welfare," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(2), pages 1116-1125.
    3. Krawczyk, Jacek B & Pharo, Alastair S, 2014. "Manual of VIKAASA 2.0: An application for computing and graphing viability kernels for simple viability problems," Working Paper Series 3432, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.
    4. Krawczyk, Jacek B & Pharo, Alastair S, 2011. "Manual of VIKAASA: An application capable of computing and graphing viability kernels for simple viability problems," Working Paper Series 1878, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.
    5. Krawczyk, Jacek B & Townsend, Wilbur, 2015. "Viability of an economy with constrained inequality," Working Paper Series 4689, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.
    6. Jacek Krawczyk & Alastair Pharo & Oana Serea & Stewart Sinclair, 2013. "Computation of viability kernels: a case study of by-catch fisheries," Computational Management Science, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 365-396, December.
    7. Krawczyk, Jacek B. & Judd, Kenneth L., 2014. "Which economic states are sustainable under a slightly constrained tax-rate adjustment policy," MPRA Paper 59027, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Viability theory; Optimization; Sustainability; Ramsey model;

    JEL classification:

    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • C63 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computational Techniques
    • C65 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Miscellaneous Mathematical Tools
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models

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