Antoci, Angelo and Borghesi, Simone (2012) Preserving or escaping? On the welfare effects of environmental self-protective choices. The Journal of Socio-Economics, Vol. 41 (2), p. 248-254. eISSN 1879-1239. Article.
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In modern societies individuals often try to alleviate their personal damages from environmental degradation by increasing their consumption of private goods. Although this “self-protective” behavior is very frequent in industrial economies, insufficient attention has been paid to its economic and environmental consequences. In this paper we show that such a behavior can make everyone worse-off. For this purpose, using as paradigmatic case a two-islands evolutionary model, we prove analytically that environmental “self-protection” may trap the system into an undesirable (Pareto-dominated) situation and discuss a few real-life examples in which this mechanism may have actually occurred. Although the proposed model is deliberately extremely simple, it may provide some interesting insights on an aspect that has been mainly ignored in the literature so far.
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