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Energy, Development, and the Environment: An Appraisal Three Decades After the "Limits to Growth" Debate

  • Giovanni Dosi
  • Marco Grazzi

This work builds upon some long-term secular regularities concerning the relation between consumption of energy, technological progress and economic growth and reassesses the old question raised around forty years ago in the "limits to growth" discussion (Meadows et al. [1972]), namely are the current patterns of development and in particular the current patterns of energy use environmentally sustainable? The questions we shall address are the following. First, the environmental sustainability of patterns of energy consumption that for long have implied the notion of the environment as a free good, without any negative social externalities and even less so any environmental threat. Second, the importance - and limits - of relative price changes with respect to the dynamics of consumption of energy. Third, the role of fundamental discontinuities between different "technological paradigms".

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Paper provided by Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy in its series LEM Papers Series with number 2006/15.

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Date of creation: 16 May 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ssa:lemwps:2006/15
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  1. Brock, William A. & Taylor, M. Scott, 2005. "Economic Growth and the Environment: A Review of Theory and Empirics," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 28, pages 1749-1821 Elsevier.
  2. Stern, David I., 2002. "Explaining changes in global sulfur emissions: an econometric decomposition approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 201-220, August.
  3. de Bruyn, S. M. & van den Bergh, J. C. J. M. & Opschoor, J. B., 1998. "Economic growth and emissions: reconsidering the empirical basis of environmental Kuznets curves," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 161-175, May.
  4. Dosi, Giovanni, 1993. "Technological paradigms and technological trajectories : A suggested interpretation of the determinants and directions of technical change," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 102-103, April.
  5. Shafik, Nemat & Bandyopadhyay, Sushenjit, 1992. "Economic growth and environmental quality : time series and cross-country evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 904, The World Bank.
  6. Matthew A. Cole & Eric Neumayer, 2003. "Examining the Impact of Demographic Factors On Air Pollution," Labor and Demography 0312005, EconWPA, revised 13 May 2004.
  7. Arik Levinson & M. Scott Taylor, 2008. "Unmasking The Pollution Haven Effect," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(1), pages 223-254, 02.
  8. Stern , David I., 1998. "Progress on the environmental Kuznets curve?," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(02), pages 173-196, May.
  9. De Bruyn, Sander M., 1997. "Explaining the environmental Kuznets curve: structural change and international agreements in reducing sulphur emissions," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(04), pages 485-503, November.
  10. Massimiliano Mazzanti & Roberto Zoboli, 2006. "Examining the Factors Influencing Environmental Innovations," Working Papers 2006.20, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  11. BERTINELLI, Luisito & STROBL, Eric, 2004. "The Environmental Kuznets Curve semi-parametrically revisited," CORE Discussion Papers 2004051, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  12. Martinez-Alier, J., 1995. "The environment as a luxury good or "too poor to be green"?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 1-10, April.
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