Handbook of Environmental and Resource Economics
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Handbook of Environmental and Resource Economics

Edited by Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh

This major reference book comprises specially commissioned surveys in environmental and resource economics written by an international team of experts. Authoritative yet accessible, each entry provides a state-of-the-art summary of key areas that will be invaluable to researchers, practitioners and advanced students.
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Chapter 47: Growth-oriented Economic Policies and their Environmental Impact

M. Munasinghe


s Mohan Munasinghe' 1. Introduction Sustainable development has become an important policy goal for most nations and the international development community - because of the increasing evidence that failure to account for environmental degradation erodes the capital base for future development. Moreover, governments have accepted the responsibility for promoting the sustainability of development, in response to the Agenda 21 programme - following the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. In this context, the role of country-wide or economy-wide policies (both macroeconomic and sectoral) have come under increasing scrutiny, because of their powerful and pervasive impacts. The concept of sustainable development has evolved to encompass three major points of view: economic, social and environmental (Munasinghe, 1992). While the balanced treatment of all these three elements is desirable, this chapter focuses mainly on economic+mvironmentaI linkages. Some discussion of associated social issues such as poverty, income distribution and resettlement is also included. Other key social objectives such as popular participation, empowerment and the rights of indigenous peoples fall outside the scope of this discussion. Nevertheless, the generic findings and the approach presented here would also be useful in systematically identifying a wider range of social impacts, and analysing them. Country-wide policies consist of both sectoral and macroeconomic policies which have widespread effects throughout the economy; therefore it is not surprising that their environmental and social consequences could be both positive and negative. Table 47.1 summarizes some of the main economy-wide policy instruments and strategies, and the broad objectives of decision makers. Sectoral...

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