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 72: Economic Models of Sustainable Development

J.C.J.M. van den Bergh and M.W. Hofkes


Jeroen C.JM. van den Bergh and Marjan W Hofkes” 1. Introduction This chapter offers an overview of alternative modelling approaches dealing with economic aspects of sustainable development. Sustainable development has become a common term in environmental economics, open to various interpretations, as is discussed in Section 2. When examining suitable models for sustainable development analysis, one can find large differences, due to distinct theoretical starting points and alternative demarcations of the problem associated with the objective of sustainable development. Specific models focus on economic growth pur sang, on technology formation, on natural processes and feedback to economic processes, or on evolutionary processes. We do not argue that there is one single best approach, but rather that an array of models is available that provides different, and largely complementary, insights. These different modelling perspectives on sustainable development are discussed in Sections,3 to 5. They include economic growth models, sectorally disaggregated models, integrated and (co-)evolutionary models, and empirical model-based studies. This distinction is regarded to cover the most important theoretical starting points and disaggregation choices related to the modelling of consumption and welfare, production factors and interactions, and environmental impacts and processes. Comprehensive overviews of specific categories of sustainable development models are presented in Toman et al. (1995), van den Bergh (1996), Faucheux et al. (1996), and van den Bergh and Hofkes (1998). 2. Towards formalizing sustainability The concept of sustainable development has over a rather short period of time become commonplace in environmental economics. There is, however, some debate...

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