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Individual and Governmental Responsibility for Sustainability An Economic Analysis

  • Responsibility for sustainability is an action guiding concept which relates the abstract norm of sustainability with concrete action contexts. It thereby specifies what bearers of responsibility ought to do. In this thesis, I introduce the concept of responsibility to economic theory, focusing specifically on individual and governmental responsibility for sustainability. Some of the questions I examine are: how should responsibility be distributed among agents? How can agents, who are responsible for several normative aims, solve trade-offs? Do governmental policies affect individuals’ ability to assume responsibility? How can individuals efficiently induce governments to act responsibly? In Paper 1, A utilitarian notion of responsibility for sustainability, I conceptualize and formalize a utilitarian notion of responsibility for sustainability which I then relate to established normative criteria for assessing intertemporal societal choice. I show that responsibility for sustainability can be unambiguously conceptualized in economic models. Furthermore, I affirm that responsibility may provide action guidance even if the aim of sustainability is not feasible. In Paper 2, Verantwortung von Konsumenten für Nachhaltigkeit, I study consumers’ responsibility for sustainability. Particularly, I specify crucial components of this responsibility in order to analyze the relation of consumers’ private and political responsibility. I show that the responsibility for sustainability of consumers comprises three indispensable obligations of which only one concerns consumers’ consumption choices. In Paper 3, Regulation of morally responsible agents with motivation crowding, I focus on the impact of governmental policies on the motivation of an individual to assume moral responsibility. In particular, I study the regulation of a morally responsible individual with motivation crowding in the context of a negative externality. I show that combining consumption taxes with the provision of perfect information is, in many cases, superior to consumption taxes alone. In Paper 4, Endogenous Environmental Policy when Pollution is Transboundary, I examine how individuals which form lobby groups affect the determination of environmental policy when governments seek not only to maximize welfare, but simultaneous maximize support by lobby groups. More specifically, I consider the case in which two countries are linked through transboundary pollution. Environmental policies adopted by self-interested governments may be more stringent than by social welfare maximizing governments. Furthermore, due to the interaction of distortions the space of optimal policies increases: politically optimal tax rates may be too high or too low to optimally internalize the environmental externality.

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Author:Joachim Fünfgelt
URL: https://pub-data.leuphana.de/frontdoor/index/index/docId/607
Title Additional (German):Individuelle und staatliche Verantwortung für Nachhaltigkeit
Referee:Stefan Baumgärtner (Prof. Dr.)ORCiDGND, Thomas Wein
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Year of Completion:2012
Date of Publication (online):2012/07/17
Publishing Institution:Leuphana Universität Lüneburg, Universitätsbibliothek der Leuphana Universität Lüneburg
Granting Institution:Leuphana Universität Lüneburg, Nachhaltigkeit
Date of final exam:2012/06/08
Release Date:2012/07/17
Tag:responsibility; sustainibility
GND Keyword:Verantwortung; Nachhaltigkeit
Institutes:Fak 3 - Umwelt und Technik (alt) / Nachhaltigkeitsmgmt./-ökologie
Dewey Decimal Classification:3 Sozialwissenschaften / 33 Wirtschaft / 333.7 Natürliche Ressourcen, Energie und Umwelt
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht