New Economics Papers
on Agricultural Economics
Issue of 2006‒09‒11
three papers chosen by

  1. An organic farming perspective on the production of biomass for energy use By Muller, Adrian
  2. The Direction of Technical Change in Capital-Resource Economies By Corrado Di Maria; Simone Valente
  3. A Kuznets Curve for Recycling By Karen Pittel

  1. By: Muller, Adrian (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: Bioenergy is seen as a promising option to curb greenhouse gas emissions. There is, however, a potential competition for land due to increased demand for biomass resulting in increased food prices. This also would exacerbate future global water scarcity and negatively affect the food security of poor countries depending on cereal imports. Furtheron, the question of how a sufficient large amount of biomass for energy production could be grown sustainably needs to be addressed. Conventional agriculture often has negative effects on the environment. Organic agriculture is one sustainable alternative. Burning significant quantities of organic matter, however, is incompatible with the principles of organic agriculture. Nevertheless, there is potential for sustainable implementation of small-scale, on-site bioenergy projects, in particular in developing countries and also of some forestry practices to harvest biomass for energy use. On the other hand, large-scale production of biomass for transport fuels is likely to be particularly unsustainable. To assess the sustainability of bioenergy on project level and as a global strategy, detailed differentiation is necessary. This paper combines these issues focusing on the potential challenges related to sustainable bioenergy production and its potential incompatibility with sustainable agricultural practices. <p>
    Keywords: bioenergy; sustainable energy; organic agriculture; land scarcity; water scarcity
    JEL: Q01 Q42
    Date: 2006–08–31
  2. By: Corrado Di Maria (CentER, Tilburg University); Simone Valente (Center of Economic Research, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH))
    Abstract: We analyze a multi-sector growth model with directed technical change where man-made capital and exhaustible resources are essen- tial for production. The relative profitability of factor-specific inno- vations endogenously determines whether technical progress will be capital- or resource-augmenting. We show that convergence to bal- anced growth implies zero capital-augmenting innovations: in the long run, the economy exhibits purely resource-augmenting technical change. This result provides sound microfoundations for the broad class of models of exogenous/endogenous growth where resource-aug- menting progress is required to sustain consumption in the long run, contradicting the view that these models are conceptually biased in favor of sustainability.
    Keywords: Endogenous Growth, Directed Technical Change, Exhaustible Resources, Sustainability
    JEL: O31 O33 O41 Q32
    Date: 2006–03
  3. By: Karen Pittel (Center of Economic Research, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH))
    Abstract: The paper aims at extending the debate on Environmental Kuznets Curves to the case of non-renewable resources and to discuss the driving forces that might give rise to EKC's in this case. The paper at hand deviates from the standard EKC analysis in two ways: First, mostly EKC's are analyzed for flow variables. In this paper we argue that EKC's may very well arise for certain stock variables like minerals or waste. Second, most papers that provide a theoretical foundation for EKC's focus on assumptions like technological anomalies (e.g. increasing returns) or technological switches. We offer an alternative explanation by showing that EKC's might arise simply due to the combination of recycling and the rising scarcity of materials. It is shown that an EKC for non-renewables might emerge during the transition to the long-run balanced growth path. Whether or not an EKC arises depends e.g. on initial conditions, but also on preferences and technology. The assumptions made about the ability of recycling firms to internalize the in- terrelation between recycling decisions today and the future availability of recyclable waste matter with respect to the prerequisites for an EKC and the speed of conver- gence. Internalization furthermore implies that an economy can be caught in a poverty trap, i.e. it might not be able to converge to the long-run growth equilibrium if the initial endowment with resources and capital is too low.
    Keywords: non-renewable resources, recycling, transitional growth, Environmental Kuznets Curve
    JEL: Q32 Q53 O4 O13
    Date: 2006–05

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