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Sustainable Preferences and Damage Abatement:Value Judgments and Implications for Consumption Streams

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  • John Creedy
  • Ross Guest

Abstract

This paper examines the implications of adopting alternative value judgements when evaluating future consumption streams in the context of damage abatement. The paper focusses on a form of ‘sustainable preferences’ designed to avoid either a dictatorship by present or by future generations which can arise when using a ‘standard’ social welfare function. Numerical examples are reported, based on a simple growth model, under alternative damage abatement parameters and welfare functions. The results illustrate how sustainable preferences effectively reduce the damages on future consumption by shifting consumption from the present to the future. This implies an intergenerational trade-off. An explicit policy of damage abatement under a standard social welfare function implies a similar intergenerational trade-off. However, the results suggest that damage abatement does not penalise current generations as much under sustainable preferences as it does under standard value judgements

Suggested Citation

  • John Creedy & Ross Guest, 2008. "Sustainable Preferences and Damage Abatement:Value Judgments and Implications for Consumption Streams," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1026, The University of Melbourne.
  • Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:1026
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Creedy, John & Guest, Ross, 2008. "Population ageing and intertemporal consumption: Representative agent versus social planner," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 485-498, May.
    2. Padilla, Emilio, 2002. "Intergenerational equity and sustainability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 69-83, April.
    3. Stavins, Robert N. & Wagner, Alexander F. & Wagner, Gernot, 2003. "Interpreting sustainability in economic terms: dynamic efficiency plus intergenerational equity," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 339-343, June.
    4. Heal, G., 1998. "Valuing the Future: Economic Theory and Sustainability," Papers 98-10, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
    5. Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1959. "Stationary Ordinal Utility and Impatience," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 81, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    6. Graciela Chichilnisky, 1997. "What Is Sustainable Development?," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 73(4), pages 467-491.
    7. Kenneth J. Arrow & Anthony C. Fisher, 1974. "Environmental Preservation, Uncertainty, and Irreversibility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 88(2), pages 312-319.
    8. Li, Chuan-Zhong & Lofgren, Karl-Gustaf, 2000. "Renewable Resources and Economic Sustainability: A Dynamic Analysis with Heterogeneous Time Preferences," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 236-250, November.
    9. David I. Laibson, 1996. "Hyperbolic Discount Functions, Undersaving, and Savings Policy," NBER Working Papers 5635, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Solow, Robert, 1993. "An almost practical step toward sustainability," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 162-172, September.
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