The management of economic growth and environmental quality

Hughes, David Edward. (1986). The management of economic growth and environmental quality PhD Thesis, School of Economics, The University of Queensland.

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Author Hughes, David Edward.
Thesis Title The management of economic growth and environmental quality
School, Centre or Institute School of Economics
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 1986
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Total pages 402
Language eng
Subjects 160507 Environment Policy
160505 Economic Development Policy
Formatted abstract Environmental deterioration is widely perceived as an important constraint on the achievement of economic growth. Policies in Australia continue to permit in effective management of environmental control in both government and private sectors. Applications of techniques and models, particularly those based on input-output analysis, offer useful explanations of pollution activity and the economic consequences. The insights obtained promise better management of these aspects.

Policy instruments, forecasts and performance assessment used to improve managerial efficiency together with entrepreneurial innovation can contribute to useful regional growth. The framework of environmental and economic controls established by regulatory authorities and economic planners should support this by extending the range of feasible options. This in turn permits further benefits and opportunities to be obtained. There are gains to be made by pursuing a pragmatic regional development strategy based on controlled opportunism.

This study examines those aspects of regional policy and planning which can be used to achieve multiple goals in terms of feasibility rather than optimality. Since many of the problems arise from externalities such as environmental effects, existing models, techniques and policy instruments are reviewed to ascertain their relevance to the pragmatic approach. Costs of growth are thus considered as the "costs of stagnation" through failure to exploit available opportunities. These apply to a wide range of regional and industry sector activities thus justifying the use of a variety of techniques of analysis.

The examination of existing policies and controls provides a background to technological and economic measures, particularly related to management of environmental quality. The harnessing of what are defined as positive externalities in feasible project and development options is seen as an important contribution to growth.

Self-regulating mechanisms are proposed which will support environmental components. The analysis of sectors which are found to be significant is also relevant and emphasis on negotiation between government and private sectors confirms the importance of adequate information and appropriate models. Such information could be derived from the application of techniques outlined in this study. In particular the review of existing models is carried out to determine those components that have relevance to the concept of feasibility. The constraints which flow from institutionalised community objectives are also considered.

A pollution input-output coefficient matrix is generated for Australia to model environmental trade-offs. This is regionalised and applied to regions in Queensland. These applications are intended to provide insights which will improve the coordination of local activities giving technical and operational efficiency according to performance criteria. Related components such as energy use and infrastructure provision are considered in the context of inter-regional transfers. Intersectoral linkages over a broader range of environment and development options than previously noted are analysed here. Markov chain techniques are used to overcome some of the deterministic limitations of standard input-output methods. The concept of "feasibility" is then advanced as a useful supplement to the optimising approach.

The application of models to regions in Queensland and to particular sectors illustrates proposals for environmental management under Australian conditions. The results indicate that variations between regions in Australia warrant a flexible and local approach.

The findings of this study suggest that existing methods of analysis can be further extended to accommodate information needs of environmental management. This permits recognition of the options for regional planning policies on a more rigorous basis than the ad hoc approach frequently employed by local authorities. In this way the objectives of private enterprise can be reconciled with those of the regulatory authority acting on behalf of the local community. It is apparent that scope for opportunistic decision making is increased by the acceptance of a criterion of feasibility weighted by local constraints. Existing environmental policies have failed to allow for linkages between sectors and the significance of attitudes in a negotiating forum.

The "fine control" advocated in some studies may not be possible where local information is insufficient. The coefficient approach is considered appropriate to those models applied here. Additional criteria have been developed which can assist the determination of more suitable responses to environmental-economic problems facing local planners. The application of techniques proposed in this study is put forward as a robust approach to improving environmental quality as well as efficiency in regional management.

Keyword Environmental policy -- Australia.
Australia -- Economic policy -- 1965-

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