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The environment and directed technical change

This paper introduces endogenous and directed technical change in a growth model with environmental constraints. The final good is produced from “dirty” and “clean” inputs. We show that: (i) when inputs are sufficiently substitutable, sustainable growth can be achieved with temporary taxes/subsidies that redirect innovation toward clean inputs; (ii) optimal policy involves both “carbon taxes” and research subsidies, avoiding excessive use of carbon taxes; (iii) delay in intervention is costly, as it later necessitates a longer transition phase with slow growth; and (iv) use of an exhaustible resource in dirty input production helps the switch to clean innovation under laissez-faire. (JEL O33, O44, Q30, Q54, Q56, Q58)