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Growth, Environment and Uncertain Future Preferences

  • Alain Ayong Le Kama

    (Université Lille 1 - Sciences et technologies - Université Lille I - Sciences et technologies - PRES Université Lille Nord de France)

  • Katheline Schubert

    ()

    (EUREQUA - Equipe Universitaire de Recherche en Economie Quantitative - CNRS : UMR8594 - Université Paris I - Panthéon-Sorbonne)

The attitude of future generations towards environmental assets may well be different from ours, and it is necessary to take into account this possibility explicitly in the current debate about environmental policy. The question we are addressing here is: should uncertainty about future preferences lead to a more conservative attitude towards environment? Previous literature shows that it is the case when society expects that on average future preferences will be more in favor of environment than ours, but this result relies heavily on the assumption of a separability between consumption and environmental quality in the utility function. We show that things are less simple when preferences are non-separable: the attitude of the society now depends not only on the expectation of the change in preferences but also on the characteristics of the economy (impatience, intertemporal flexibility, natural capacities of regeneration of the environment, relative preference for the environment), on its history (initial level of the environmental quality) and on the date at which preferences are expected to change (near or far future).

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) with number hal-00267891.

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Date of creation: May 2004
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Publication status: Published, Environmental and Resource Economics, 2004, 28, 1, 31-53
Handle: RePEc:hal:cesptp:hal-00267891
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00267891
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  1. Alain Ayong Le Kama, 2012. "Preservation and Endogenous Uncertain Future Preferences," Working Papers 1204, Chaire Economie du Climat.
  2. Geoffrey Heal & Bengt Kriström, 2002. "Uncertainty and Climate Change," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 22(1), pages 3-39, June.
  3. Philippe Michel & Gilles Rotillon, 1995. "Disutility of pollution and endogenous growth," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 6(3), pages 279-300, October.
  4. Smulders, Sjak & Gradus, Raymond, 1996. "Pollution abatement and long-term growth," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 505-532, November.
  5. Chichilnisky, Graciela & Beltratti, Andrea & Heal, Geoffrey, 1998. "Uncertain future preferences and conservation," MPRA Paper 7912, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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