Evolutionary Analysis of the Relationship between Economic Growth, Environmental Quality and Resource Scarcity
Bergh, Jeroen C.J.M. van den
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The analysis of resource scarcity and environmental pollution in the framework of growth theory during the 1970s has entirely occurred within the domain of standard growth theory. Since the 1980s, growth has been studied from the perspective of evolutionary theories of growth and technical change. This has, however, hardly influenced environmental and resource economics. This paper present a first analysis in this direction. It discusses general characteristics of evolutionary systems and briefly reviews insights of evolutionary economics. Then it evaluates existing applications of evolutionary analysis in environmental and resource economics at large. Subsequently, evolutionary and neoclassical growth theories are compared. In addition to theoretical considerations, an analysis of the relationship between growth and environment from an evolutionary-historical perspective is offered. Next, the question whether growth can be considered as progress from an evolutionary angle is tackled. The paper closes with some policy suggestions.