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Resource typeDissertation
Title(s)Individual and Governmental Responsibility for Sustainability An Economic Analysis
Alternative title(s)Individuelle und staatliche Verantwortung für Nachhaltigkeit
CreatorFünfgelt, Joachim
RefereeBaumgärtner, Stefan  0000-0001-8314-8462  121846857
Wein, Thomas  0000-0001-7443-3253  170739767
AbstractResponsibility 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.
KeywordsResponsibility; Sustainability; Verantwortung; Nachhaltigkeit
Date of defense2012-06-08
Year of publication in PubData2012
Publishing typeFirst publication
Date issued2012-07-17
Creation contextResearch
Granting InstitutionLeuphana Universität Lüneburg
Published byMedien- und Informationszentrum, Leuphana Universität Lüneburg
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