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A Positive Model of Growth and Pollution Controls

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  • Larry E. Jones
  • Rodolfo E. Manuelli

Abstract

The most recent addition to the economics of gloom concerns the interplay between income and environmental degradation. The main question raised is whether or not continued environmental degradation is a necessary part of the process of industrialization. Will pollution continue to increase without bound as more and more countries pass through the development phase or will it be controlled? Intuitively, if 'clean air' is a normal good, we would expect that societies might be 'self-regulating' in the sense that as income increases, pollution controls also increase. However, this intuition is somewhat misleading as the presence of external effects is an essential feature of environmental regulation. This paper describes a growth model in which pollutants are internal to a jurisdiction. To this end we develop a model of the joint determination of the rate of development of the economy through market interactions and the extent of pollution regulation through collective decision making. We show that depending on the collective decision making mechanism in place, the time path of pollution can display an inverted U shape, a 'sideways mirrored' S, or an increasing (but bounded) level over time. This paper contributes to the literature on both the large differences in income per capita across countries as well as the discrepancies in their growth rates. It shows that by relying on collective decision making mechanisms to choose policies, the dynamics of convex models can resemble those usually ascribed to models of multiple equilibria.

Suggested Citation

  • Larry E. Jones & Rodolfo E. Manuelli, 1995. "A Positive Model of Growth and Pollution Controls," NBER Working Papers 5205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5205
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-1037, October.
    2. Grossman, G.M & Krueger, A.B., 1991. "Environmental Impacts of a North American Free Trade Agreement," Papers 158, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
    3. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-490.
    4. Eric O'N. Fisher & Charles van Marrewijk, 1998. "Pollution and economic growth," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(1), pages 55-69.
    5. Boldrin, Michele, 1992. "Dynamic externalities, multiple equilibria, and growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 198-218, December.
    6. Gene M. Grossman & Alan B. Krueger, 1995. "Economic Growth and the Environment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(2), pages 353-377.
    7. Jones, Larry E. & Manuelli, Rodolfo E., 1992. "Finite lifetimes and growth," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 171-197, December.
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    14. Glomm, Gerhard & Ravikumar, B., 1996. "Endogenous public policy and multiple equilibria," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 653-662, April.
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    JEL classification:

    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government

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