Directed Technical Change, Environmental Sustainability, and Population Growth

Research output: Working paperResearch

Population growth has two potentially counteracting effects on pollution emissions:(i) more people implies more production and thereby more emissions, and (ii) more people implies a larger research capacity which might reduce the emission intensity of production, depending on the direction of research. This paper investigates how to achieve a given climate goal in the presence of these two effects. A growth model featuring both directed technical change and population growth is developed. The model allows for simultaneous research in polluting and non-polluting technologies. Both analytical and numerical results indicate that population growth is a burden on the environment, even when all research efforts are directed toward non-polluting technologies. Thus research subsidies alone cannot ensure environmental sustainability. Instead, the analysis shows that environmental sustainability requires pollution taxes and/or population control policies.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages55
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2019
SeriesUniversity of Copenhagen. Institute of Economics. Discussion Papers (Online)

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Social Sciences - Directed technical change, endogenous growth, environmental policy, environmental sustainability, climate change, population growth, J11, O30, O41, Q54, Q55, Q58

ID: 230999513