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Property rights and the dynamics of North-South trade, chapter 8

Chichilnisky, Graciela (1996): Property rights and the dynamics of North-South trade, chapter 8. Published in: Agriculture, Trade, and the Environment: Discovering and Measuring the Critical Linkages (1996): pp. 97-110.

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This chapter focuses on how the lack of property rights in North-South trade of primary resources can distort trade and threaten the sustainablility of development. This issue is examined within a two-region world economy where one region, the North, represents the industrial countries, and the other, the South, the developing countries. The lack of property rights characterizes a class of environmental problems arising from the use of renewable resources as inputs in the production of traded goods. Focus is placed on renewable resources because it can be argued that sustainable development is all about the proper management of the world's natural resources. There are two significant departures from traditional theory. The first is that one input in production is an environmental resource. The second major departure from traditional theory is that the regions are characterized by their property rights regimes based on the source from which resources are extracted. It is shown that differences in property rights are sufficient to explain differing trade patterns between two otherwise identical regions, even if these regions have the same endowments, preferences, and technologies. The succeeding sections of this chapter provide the following. Lemma 1 studies population dynamics, and the connection between property rights and the long-run supply curve of the renewable resource. The next step is to analyze market behavior. The general equilibrium model of North-South trade is defined, and solved in one explicit resolving equation provided in the Appendix.

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