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Preserving or escaping? On the welfare effects of environmental self-protective choices

  • Antoci, Angelo
  • Borghesi, Simone

In modern societies individuals often try to alleviate their personal damages from environmental degradation by increasing their consumption of private goods. Although this “self-protective” behavior is very frequent in industrial economies, insufficient attention has been paid to its economic and environmental consequences. In this paper we show that such a behavior can give rise to a self-reinforcing growth process in which environmental degradation increases economic growth and vice-versa, leading the economy on a welfare-reducing path. For this purpose, we first provide several examples of environmental self-protective choices to give a heuristic view of this phenomenon and then examine their effects through a two-islands evolutionary model that leads the reader beyond a purely intuitive understanding of the argument. Although the proposed model is deliberately very simple, it may provide some interesting insights on an aspect that has been mainly ignored in the literature so far.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 22580.

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Date of creation: May 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:22580
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  1. Antoci, Angelo & Galeotti, Marcello & Russu, Paolo, 2005. "Consumption of private goods as substitutes for environmental goods in an economic growth model," MPRA Paper 13664, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Marcy Burchfield & Henry G. Overman & Diego Puga & Matthew A. Turner, 2005. "Causes of sprawl: A portrait from space," Working Papers tecipa-192, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  3. Glaeser, Edward L. & Kahn, Matthew E., 2004. "Sprawl and urban growth," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 56, pages 2481-2527 Elsevier.
  4. Antoci, Angelo, 2009. "Environmental degradation as engine of undesirable economic growth via self-protection consumption choices," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(5), pages 1385-1397, March.
  5. Angelo Antoci & Simone Borghesi & Marcello Galeotti, 2008. "Should we replace the environment?: Limits of economic growth in the presence of self-protective choices," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 35(4), pages 283-297, March.
  6. Jason Shogren & Thomas Crocker, 1991. "Cooperative and noncooperative protection against transferable and filterable externalities," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 1(2), pages 195-214, June.
  7. Bird, Peter J. W. N., 1987. "The transferability and depletability of externalities," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 54-57, March.
  8. Bartolini, Stefano & Bonatti, Luigi, 2003. "Undesirable growth in a model with capital accumulation and environmental assets," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(01), pages 11-30, February.
  9. Shibata, Hirofumi & Winrich, J Steven, 1983. "Control of Pollution when the Offended Defend Themselves," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 50(200), pages 425-37, November.
  10. Jorgen W. Weibull, 1997. "Evolutionary Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262731215, June.
  11. Antoci, Angelo & Bartolini, Stefano, 1999. "Negative externalities as the engine of growth in an evolutionary context," MPRA Paper 13908, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Tim Forsyth, 2002. "What happened on "The Beach"? Social movements and governance of tourism in Thailand," International Journal of Sustainable Development, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 5(3), pages 326-337.
  13. Angelo Antoci & Stefano Bartolini, 1997. "Externalities and Growth in an Evolutionary Game," Department of Economics Working Papers 9710, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
  14. Bartolini, Stefano & Bonatti, Luigi, 2002. "Environmental and social degradation as the engine of economic growth," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 1-16, November.
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