OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

English, French

Economics and the Environment

A Survey of Issues and Policy Options

Concerns over the pace, scope and causes of environmental degradation have led to a renewed interest in the way environmental and economic policies interact. This paper first reviews the main causes for excessive use of environmental resources in a market economy, and how governments may conduct policies to counter environmental degradation. The focus of the paper then shifts towards the implications of economic growth on overall wealth and the possibilities for preserving or expanding the basis of this wealth, particularly in relation to the notion of sustainable development. Finally, it examines policy options for limiting global environmental problems such as climate change, in particular as regards the trade-offs involved in curbing the use of fossil fuels ...


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