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Economics of Natural Resource Scarcity: The State of the Debate

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  • Krautkraemer, Jeffrey

Abstract

Whether economic growth can be sustained in a finite natural world is one of the earliest and most enduring questions in economic literature. Even with unprecedented growth in human population and resource consumption, humans have been quite adept at finding solutions to the problem of scarce natural resources, particularly in response to signals of increased scarcity. Because environmental resources generally are not generally traded on markets, however, scarcity signals for these resources may be inadequate, and appropriate policy responses are difficult to implement and manage. In the debate over the economic scarcity of natural resources, one significant change in recent years has been a greater focus on the ecosystem services and the resource amenities yielded by natural environments. The general conclusion of this paper is that technological progress has ameliorated the scarcity of natural resource commodities; but resource amenities have become more scarce, and it is unlikely that technology alone can remedy that.

Suggested Citation

  • Krautkraemer, Jeffrey, 2005. "Economics of Natural Resource Scarcity: The State of the Debate," Discussion Papers dp-05-14, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-05-14
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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. Farzin, Y Hossein, 1984. "The Effect of the Discount Rate on Depletion of Exhaustible Resources," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(5), pages 841-851, October.
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    6. Hall, Darwin C. & Hall, Jane V., 1984. "Concepts and measures of natural resource scarcity with a summary of recent trends," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 363-379, December.
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    8. S. Illeris & G. Akehurst, 2002. "Introduction," The Service Industries Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(1), pages 1-3, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:ecoser:v:7:y:2014:i:c:p:141-151 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. André, Francisco J. & Smulders, Sjak, 2014. "Fueling growth when oil peaks: Directed technological change and the limits to efficiency," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 18-39.
    3. Pirard, Romain & Irland, Lloyd C., 2007. "Missing links between timber scarcity and industrial overcapacity: Lessons from the Indonesian Pulp and Paper expansion," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(8), pages 1056-1070, May.
    4. Lapko, Yulia & Trucco, Paolo & Nuur, Cali, 2016. "The business perspective on materials criticality: Evidence from manufacturers," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 93-107.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    natural resource scarcity. environmental amenities. resource substitution.;

    JEL classification:

    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
    • Q10 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - General
    • Q20 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - General
    • Q30 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - General
    • Q40 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - General
    • Q50 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - General

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