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The impact of renewable versus non-renewable natural capital on economic growth

Abstract : In a dataset on 83 countries covering the years 1960–2009, we find a negative indirect effect of the share of renewable natural capital in wealth on economic growth transmitted through demographic factors, more specifically, population fertility. In contrast, in countries with lower income inequality and higher institutional quality, the share of non-renewable natural capital in wealth has a direct positive impact on growth. We also find that countries with higher income per capita, human development, and institutional quality have a higher share of renewable natural capital per capita, but a lower share of renewable natural capital in wealth. Renewable natural capital is thus valuable for the population and of primary concern for empowered countries, even though it contributes less to wealth and economic growth. Our results raise serious questions about the way wealth and growth are defined in economics when one investigates the impact of natural capital and point to the importance of preserving natural capital, particularly, in less developed countries.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, March 10, 2021 - 12:09:47 PM
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Farid Gasmi, Laura Recuero Virto, Denis Couvet. The impact of renewable versus non-renewable natural capital on economic growth. Environmental and Resource Economics, Springer, 2020, 77 (2), pp.271-333. ⟨10.1007/s10640-020-00495-0⟩. ⟨hal-03164952⟩

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