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The dynamics of environmental concern and the evolution of pollution

  • Emeline Bezin
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    We develop an overlapping generations model within which the evolution of pollution and the formation of environmental concern are endogenous. On the one hand, people heterogeneously concerned with environmental issues contribute to pollution which is a public bad. On the other hand, the transmission of environmental attitudes is the result of some economic choice which is affected by pollution. The model predicts that the long run proportion of environmentally concerned individuals will always be high. Though, depending on the pollution-generating technology, the transition from a low-environmentally concerned society to a high-environmentally concerned one is accompanied by two different outcomes regarding the long run level of pollution. If the technology is “clean”, there is a stable steady state level of pollution. However, if it is “dirty”, pollution experiences an unlimited growth which eventually causes an environmental disaster. This result captures some stylized facts regarding the joint evolution of environmental concern and pollution in developing nations. In the latter case, we show that intergenerational transfers from the older generation to the young working one restore the possibility to reach a stationary level of pollution.

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    Paper provided by INRA UMR SMART in its series Working Papers SMART - LERECO with number 13-09.

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    Length: 36 pages
    Date of creation: 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:rae:wpaper:201309
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    1. John, A & Pecchenino, R, 1994. "An Overlapping Generations Model of Growth and the Environment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(427), pages 1393-1410, November.
    2. Nyborg, Karine & Howarth, Richard B. & Brekke, Kjell Arne, 2006. "Green consumers and public policy: On socially contingent moral motivation," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 351-366, November.
    3. Natacha Raffin, 2010. "Education and the Political Economy of Environmental Protection," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00492178, HAL.
    4. Matthew J. Kotchen & Michael R. Moore, 2004. "Private Provision of Environmental Public Goods: Household Participation in Green-Electricity Programs," Department of Economics Working Papers 2004-07, Department of Economics, Williams College.
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    6. Masako Ikefuji & Ryo Horii, 2005. "Wealth Heterogeneity and Escape from the Poverty-Environment Trap," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 05-09, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
    7. David de la Croix & Axel Gosseries, 2011. "The Natalist Bias of Pollution Control," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2011020, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    8. Ehrlich, Isaac & Lui, Francis T, 1991. "Intergenerational Trade, Longevity, and Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 1029-59, October.
    9. Bisin, Alberto & Verdier, Thierry, 1998. "On the cultural transmission of preferences for social status," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 75-97, October.
    10. Matthew J. Kotchen, 2003. "Impure Public Goods and the Comparative Statics of Environmentally Friendly Consumption," Department of Economics Working Papers 2003-06, Department of Economics, Williams College.
    11. JOUVET, Pierre-André & MICHEL, Philippe & PESTIEAU, Pierre, . "Altruism, voluntary contributions and neutrality: the case of environmental quality," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1484, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    12. Vicary, Simon, 2000. "Donations to a public good in a large economy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 609-618, March.
    13. Schumacher, Ingmar & Zou, Benteng, 2008. "Pollution perception: A challenge for intergenerational equity," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 296-309, May.
    14. Jouvet, Pierre-Andre & Michel, Philippe & Vidal, Jean-Pierre, 2000. " Intergenerational Altruism and the Environment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(1), pages 135-50, March.
    15. Andreoni, James, 1988. "Privately provided public goods in a large economy: The limits of altruism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 57-73, February.
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