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On economic disequilibrium and free lunch

Author: Ayres, Robert U. INSEAD Area: Economics and Political Science Series: Working Paper ; 93/45/EPS Publisher: Fontainebleau : INSEAD Centre for the Management of Environmental and Social Responsibility (CMER) 1993.Language: EnglishDescription: 21 p.Type of document: INSEAD Working Paper Online Access: Click here Abstract: There is a sharp disagreement between mainstream economics and advocates of energy efficiency as regards the potential for "free lunches" or "no regrets" policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions. From an economics perspective, the critical question is wether the economic system is - or is not - close to Pareto-optimum equilibrium state. If so, it follows that most technological systems now in place are optimum, or nearly so, from an economic perspective. If not, there may be many sub-optimal technologies in place, with corresponding opportunities for very high returns on appropriate investments. This paper presents some of the evidence supporting the later thesis
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There is a sharp disagreement between mainstream economics and advocates of energy efficiency as regards the potential for "free lunches" or "no regrets" policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions. From an economics perspective, the critical question is wether the economic system is - or is not - close to Pareto-optimum equilibrium state. If so, it follows that most technological systems now in place are optimum, or nearly so, from an economic perspective. If not, there may be many sub-optimal technologies in place, with corresponding opportunities for very high returns on appropriate investments. This paper presents some of the evidence supporting the later thesis

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