On the economic growth and environmental trade-off: a multi-objective analysis

  • Simone MarsiglioEmail author
  • Fabio Privileggi
S.I.: MOPGP 2017


We develop a multicriteria approach, based on both scalarization and goal programming techniques, in order to analyze the trade off between economic growth and environmental outcomes in a framework in which the economy and environment relation is bidirectional. On the one hand, economic growth by stimulating production activities gives rise to emissions of pollutants which deteriorate the environment. On the other hand, the environment affects economic activities since pollution generates a production externality determining how much output the economy can produce and reducing welfare. In this setting we show that optimality dictates an initial overshooting followed by economic degrowth and rising pollution. This implies that independently of the relative importance of economic and environmental factors, it is paradoxically optimal for the economy to asymptotically reach the maximum pollution level that the environment is able to bear.


Economic growth Pollution Multi-objective optimization 

JEL Classification

O40 O41 Q50 Q56 



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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and ManagementUniversity of PisaPisaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Economics and Statistics “Cognetti de Martiis”University of TurinTorinoItaly

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