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An axiomatic approach to sustainable development

  • Chichilnisky, Graciela

The paper proposes two axioms that capture the idea of sustainable development and derives the welfare criterion that they imply. The axioms require that neither the present nor the future should play a dictatorial role. Theorem 1 shows there exist sustainable preferences, which satisfy these axioms. They exhibit sensitivity to the present and to the long-run future, and specify trade-offs between them. It examines other welfare criteria which are generally utilized: discounted utility, lim inf. long run averages, overtaking and catching-up criteria, Ramsey's criterion, Rawlsian rules, and the criterion of satisfaction of basic needs, and finds that none satisfies the axioms for sustainability. Theorem 2 gives a characterization of all continuous independent sustainable preferences. Theorem 3 shows that in general sustainable growth paths cannot be approximated by paths which approximate discounted optima. Proposition 1 shows that paths which maximize the present value under a standard price system may fail to reach optimal sustainable welfare levels, and Example 4 that the two criteria can give rise to different value systems.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 8609.

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Date of creation: 23 Oct 1995
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:8609
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  1. Chichilnisky, Graciela, 1994. "Social Diversity, Arbitrage, and Gains from Trade: A Unified Perspective on Resource Allocation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 427-34, May.
  2. Chichilnisky, G., 1990. "On Strategic Control," Discussion Papers 1990_30, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  3. Chichilnisky, Graciela, 1977. "Development patterns and the international order," MPRA Paper 7991, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Asheim, Geir B, 1988. "Rawlsian Intergenerational Justice as a Markov-Perfect Equilibrium in a Resource Technology," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(3), pages 469-83, July.
  5. Chichilnisky Graciela & Heal Geoffrey M., 1993. "Competitive Equilibrium in Sobolev Spaces without Bounds on Short Sales," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 364-384, April.
  6. Lauwers, Luc, 1993. "Infinite Chichilnisky rules," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 349-352.
  7. Chichilnisky, G., 1993. "North-South Trade and the Dynamics of Renewable Resources," Discussion Papers 1993_02, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  8. Asheim, G.B., 1989. "Unjust Intergenerational Allocations," Papers 09-89, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration-.
  9. Dutta, Prajit K., 1991. "What do discounted optima converge to?: A theory of discount rate asymptotics in economic models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 64-94, October.
  10. Chichilnisky, Graciela, 1994. "North-South Trade and the Global Environment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 851-74, September.
  11. Chichilnisky, Graciela, 1993. "The abatement of carbon emissions in industrial and developing countries," MPRA Paper 8390, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  12. Chichilnisky, Graciela, 1982. "Social Aggregation Rules and Continuity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(2), pages 337-52, May.
  13. Solow, Robert, 1993. "An almost practical step toward sustainability," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 162-172, September.
  14. Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1963. "On the Concept of Optimal Economic Growth," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 163, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  15. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521432825 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Chichilnisky, Graciela & Heal, Geoffrey & Beltratti, Andrea, 1995. "The Green Golden Rule," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 175-179, August.
  17. Chichilnisky, Graciela & Kalman, P. J., 1979. "Application of functional analysis to models of efficient allocation of economic resources," MPRA Paper 8004, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  18. Dutta, P.K., 1991. "What Do Discounted Optima Converge To? A Theory of Discount Rate Asymptotics in Economic Models," RCER Working Papers 264, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  19. Chichilnisky, G., 1992. "The Cone Condition Properness, and Extremely Desirable Commodities," Discussion Papers 1992_09, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  20. R. M. Solow, 1973. "Intergenerational Equity and Exhaustable Resources," Working papers 103, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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