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Scarcity and Growth in the New Millennium: Summary

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  • Toman, Michael
  • Simpson, R. David
  • Ayres, Robert

Abstract

In their 1963 classic Scarcity and Growth Howard Barnett and Chandler Morse argued that resource scarcity did not threaten economic growth. A second investigation in the late 1970s, Scarcity and Growth Reconsidered, reached largely the same conclusion. The 25 years since that work was published have witnessed many developments. The message of Scarcity and Growth that depletion of market resources was not a problem has given way to a concern that “new scarcities” of environmental quality, global climate, and biological diversity are emerging. Resources for the Future recently assembled a distinguished group of international scholars to again address scarcity and growth. This paper describes their charge and summarizes their findings. Technological progress may hold the key to overcoming the scarcity of environmental resources. Market forces may not be enough to motivate the required innovations, which must instead be social and institutional as well as technical and will be constrained by interlinking complexities.

Suggested Citation

  • Toman, Michael & Simpson, R. David & Ayres, Robert, 2004. "Scarcity and Growth in the New Millennium: Summary," Discussion Papers dp-04-01, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-04-01
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    File URL: http://www.rff.org/RFF/documents/RFF-DP-04-01.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Heal, Geoffrey M., 1993. "The optimal use of exhaustible resources," Handbook of Natural Resource and Energy Economics,in: A. V. Kneese† & J. L. Sweeney (ed.), Handbook of Natural Resource and Energy Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 18, pages 855-880 Elsevier.
    2. Lomborg,Bjørn, 2001. "The Skeptical Environmentalist," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521010689, May.
    3. Martin L. Weitzman, 1976. "On the Welfare Significance of National Product in a Dynamic Economy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 90(1), pages 156-162.
    4. 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.
    5. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
    6. Nordhaus, William D, 1974. "Resources as a Constraint on Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(2), pages 22-26, May.
    7. D. Gale Johnson, 2000. "Population, Food, and Knowledge," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 1-14, March.
    8. R. M. Solow, 1974. "Intergenerational Equity and Exhaustible Resources," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(5), pages 29-45.
    9. Moses Abramovitz, 1956. "Resource and Output Trends in the United States Since 1870," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abra56-1, April.
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    12. Lant Pritchett, 1997. "Divergence, Big Time," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 3-17, Summer.
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    Cited by:

    1. Muller, Adrian, 2006. "Sustainable Agriculture and the Production of Biomass for Energy Use," Working Papers in Economics 216, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 01 Aug 2008.
    2. Ockwell, David G., 2008. "Energy and economic growth: Grounding our understanding in physical reality," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(12), pages 4600-4604, December.
    3. Wagner, Jeffrey, 2006. "On the economics of sustainability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(4), pages 659-664, June.
    4. Stefano Bartolini & Luigi Bonatti, 2004. "Does Technical Progress Increase Long-Run Welfare?," Department of Economics University of Siena 435, Department of Economics, University of Siena.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    history of economic thought; technological change; renewable resources and economy;

    JEL classification:

    • B12 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Classical (includes Adam Smith)
    • B20 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - General
    • N50 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence
    • Q20 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - General
    • Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development

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