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Non-Catastrophic Endogenous Growth and the Environmental Kuznets Curve

J. Aznar-Márquez and José Ruiz-Tamarit ()

No 2004-15, Working Papers from FEDEA

Abstract: The competitive equilibrium in an endogenous growth model is not Pareto-optimal nor environmentally sustainable in presence of pollution externalities, even if costly abatement activities are allowed to be endogenously decided. In this paper we introduce the possibility of an ecological catastrophe by imposing an upper-limit to the pollutants stock. We characterize the socially optimal solution and study sustainability of the long-run balanced growth path. We find that the rate of growth depends negatively on the weight of environmental cares in utility and positively on the population growth rate. The latter effect is stronger as higher is the weight of environment in the utility function. We also identify some policies the central planner could undertake looking to guarantee sustainability. An EKC is derived in the long term using the implications of the demographic transition for the rate of population growth, and the accompanying variation in the willingness to pay for environmental quality as the economy develops.

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