Publication: "Green Growth" : An Exploratory Review
The concept of "Green Growth" is a focus of much interest and considerable debate among decision makers concerned with enhancing both nearer-term economic progress and longer-term environmental sustainability. Proponents of Green Growth emphasize not only the need to protect various forms of natural capital to sustain improvements in material living standards and poverty reduction, but also the potential for strategically crafted environmental policies to achieve sustainability at low cost, perhaps even to help stimulate growth. However, there has been so far relatively little exploration of the analytical underpinnings of Green Growth, or its ambiguities. An exploratory investigation of the goals and underlying assumptions embedded in various conceptions of Green Growth facilitates consideration of how they might be interpreted vis-à-vis standard principles of intertemporal economic efficiency, including the value of the environment. Several plausible potential channels are identified for how synergy between economic growth and environmental sustainability might be more extensive than implied by standard economic theory. However, it is not possible to address their practical significance without more empirical research than is currently available. Consequently, some claims of substantial win-win opportunities between growth and the environment may be premature.
“Toman, Michael. 2012. "Green Growth" : An Exploratory Review. Policy Research Working Paper; No. 6067. © World Bank, Washington, DC. http://openknowledge.worldbank.org/entities/publication/5dc1e5d0-d560-5e9a-851f-102000c08821 License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.”
Other publications in this report series
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PublicationThe Market for Retirement Products in Australia(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-10)Australia introduced a mandatory retirement savings scheme in 1992. This built on pre-existing voluntary occupational plans. The new scheme has been very successful in expanding coverage and mobilizing large financial savings that are equal to close to 100 percent of GDP. However, Australia does not impose restrictions on payout options. The payout phase used to be dominated by lump sum withdrawals, which accounted for 80 percent of benefit payments as recently as 2002. But pension payments increased in recent years and now represent 45 percent of total payments. The vast majority of these pension payments take the form of term annuities and allocated annuities. The latter are similar to phased withdrawals in Chile but run for fixed terms of up to 25 years rather than for lifetime terms. The demand for life annuities and lifetime phased withdrawals is very limited. The paper discusses the factors that have shaped the pattern of demand for retirement products, including the availability of the universal age pension and the effect of clawback provisions, the impact of the high level of home ownership, and the widespread preference of retiring workers for reliance on self-annuitization. The paper also reviews the prudential regulation of superannuation funds and life insurance companies.
PublicationThe Market for Retirement Products in Sweden(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2008-10)Far-reaching changes in the regulation of financial markets and the organization of public pensions in the 1980s and 1990s transformed the landscape for retirement products in Sweden. First, banking and insurance were extensively deregulated in the 1980s, while the securities markets experienced major expansion. Insurance received a large boost from the authorization of unit-linked products in the early 1990s. Second, the public pension system was reformed. Survivor benefits for widows were eliminated from the public pillar in the late 1980s, leading to a large increase in demand for term life insurance. The old defined benefit public pension system was replaced by a notional or nonfinancial defined contribution (NDC) scheme, while a funded defined contribution (FDC) component was also created in the public pillar. The four occupational pension funds that cover the majority of Swedish workers were also converted into FDC schemes. This paper reviews the implications of these changes for the Swedish annuity market. It discusses the regulation of payout options in Sweden, highlighting the compulsory use of life annuities in the public pillar and the preference for term annuities in the occupational funds. It examines the performance of providers of retirement products, including the PPM, and reviews the increasing focus on risk-based regulation and supervision. The paper also emphasizes Sweden's success in moving in the direction of increased funding and privatization of old age insurance, while maintaining its basic character as a highly developed welfare state.
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