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Ethics and economics: Lewis Gray and the conservation question

  • José Luis Ramos Gorostiza

    (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)

Registered author(s):

    : In “The Economic Possibilities of Conservation” [1913], Lewis Gray reinterpreted from an economic point of view the idea of conservation which had popularized the American Conservation Movement. He linked intergenerational equity and non-renewable resource extraction rate. Gray’s article can be considered as an antecedent of two significant debates in modern natural resource economics. On the one hand, it is a direct precedent of the environmental discussion about the meaning of discounting. On the other, it is an important element in the historical conformation of the sustainability debate.

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    Paper provided by Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales in its series Documentos de trabajo de la Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales with number 02-06.

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    Date of creation: 2002
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ucm:doctra:02-06
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    1. Lozada, Gabriel A, 1993. "The Conservationist's Dilemma," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(3), pages 647-62, August.
    2. Devarajan, Shantayanan & Fisher, Anthony C, 1981. "Hotelling's "Economics of Exhaustible Resources": Fifty Years Later," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 65-73, March.
    3. Weitzman, M.L., 1993. "On the 'Environmental' Discount Rate," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1625, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    4. John Hartwick, 1977. "Intergenerational Equity and the Investment of Rents from Exhaustible Resources in a Two Sector Model," Working Papers 281, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    5. Gerald Alonzo Smith, 1982. "Natural Resource Economic Theory of the First Conservation Movement (1895–1927)," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 14(4), pages 483-495, Winter.
    6. Fisher, Anthony C & Krutilla, John V, 1975. "Resource Conservation, Environmental Preservation, and the Rate of Discount," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 89(3), pages 358-70, August.
    7. Arrow, Kenneth J & Fisher, Anthony C, 1974. "Environmental Preservation, Uncertainty, and Irreversibility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 312-19, May.
    8. Solow, Robert M, 1986. " On the Intergenerational Allocation of Natural Resources," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 88(1), pages 141-49.
    9. Dasgupta, Swapan & Mitra, Tapan, 1983. "Intergenerational Equity and Efficient Allocation of Exhaustible Resources," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 24(1), pages 133-53, February.
    10. Solow, Robert M, 1974. "The Economics of Resources or the Resources of Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(2), pages 1-14, May.
    11. Dasgupta, Partha, 1974. "On some alternative criteria for justice between generations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 405-423, November.
    12. Alonzo Smith, Gerald, 1986. "Gray and Hotelling: A comment," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 292-294, September.
    13. Daly, Herman E., 1990. "Toward some operational principles of sustainable development," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 1-6, April.
    14. Crabbe, Philippe J., 1983. "The contribution of L. C. Gray to the economic theory of exhaustible natural resources and its roots in the history of economic thought," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 195-220, September.
    15. John Hartwick, 1976. "Intergenerational Equity and the Investing of Rents from Exhaustible Resources," Working Papers 220, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    16. John Rowse, 1990. "Discount Rate Choice and Efficiency in Exhaustible Resource Allocation," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 23(4), pages 772-90, November.
    17. Crabbe, Philippe J., 1986. "Gray and Hotelling: A reply," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 295-300, September.
    18. Collard, David, 1996. "Pigou and Future Generations: A Cambridge Tradition," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(5), pages 585-97, September.
    19. Richard Howarth & Richard Norgaard, 1993. "Intergenerational transfers and the social discount rate," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 3(4), pages 337-358, August.
    20. Dwight R. Lee & Daniel Orr, 1975. "The Private Discount Rate and Resource 'Conservation.'," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 8(3), pages 351-63, August.
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