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Sustainability 2017, 9(11), 2105; doi:10.3390/su9112105

Resources for Sustainable Economic Development: A Framework for Evaluating Infrastructure System Alternatives

Department of Economics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180, USA
Received: 3 October 2017 / Revised: 11 November 2017 / Accepted: 13 November 2017 / Published: 16 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Resources Economics)
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Abstract

We are at an early stage of a massive global build-up of public infrastructure. Long lifetimes, high money costs and resource-intensity, and the rippling effects of the built environment on all aspects of daily life call for informed public conversation about the available choices before they become a fait accompli. Substantial literatures address the phenomenon in terms of economic development, resource scarcities, impacts on climate and ecosystems, technological options, human rights, funding sources, system governance, inter-governmental agreements. This paper describes a modeling framework that integrates some of these concerns about the differential impacts of large-scale centralized infrastructure systems, smaller-scale decentralized systems, and hybrid combinations. Building on existing collaborations between economists and engineers, the paper proposes a case-study research strategy to organize new types of technical information to supplement existing databases of the world economy. The paper describes needed model extensions to estimate money costs, resource requirements, resource recovery potential, and jobs and livelihoods under alternative infrastructure assumptions. The agenda supports the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by identifying and evaluating globally relevant alternative infrastructure designs. The SDG process, in turn, provides both the global network and the concern to promote local development to which the proposed effort aims to contribute. View Full-Text
Keywords: public infrastructure; sustainable development; case-study research strategy; scenario analysis; world input-output model; dynamic input-output model public infrastructure; sustainable development; case-study research strategy; scenario analysis; world input-output model; dynamic input-output model
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Duchin, F. Resources for Sustainable Economic Development: A Framework for Evaluating Infrastructure System Alternatives. Sustainability 2017, 9, 2105.

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