Environmental Sustainability and the Economic Complexity: Policy Implications for a New Developmentalism Strategy

By Daniel Moura da Costa Teixeira, Helder Lara Ferreira Filho, Jose Luis Oreiro

PKES Working Paper 2312

September 2023

For most of human history, the economic system has operated according to the environment’s support capacity, but this relationship changed radically after the Industrial Revolution. Since then, the economy has achieved sufficiently great scale and scope to make the rate of natural resource and energy consumption as well as waste generation rival the environment’s support capacity. Hence, sustainable development requires the economy to expand at diminishing rates of natural resource consumption and pollutant emissions, including GHGs, as well as allow the long-term restoration of natural capital stocks. This purpose is only achieved through an Ecological Structural Change, which doesn’t occur spontaneously due to several market failures and risks involved in investments in cleaner technologies and innovations, requiring a set of public policies. Therefore, this paper discusses the relationship between environmental sustainability, ecological structural change, economic complexity, and the implications for environmental policies in an eco-developmental (and broader) strategy. The insights obtained point out that it is the State's role to coordinate and provide information during policy management, acting as an identifier of opportunities for diversification of the economy that contribute to environmental sustainability. Besides that, to avoid corruption and rent-seeking processes, it is important to establish a proper institutional framework for effective interaction between the market and public sectors, mechanisms for transparency and accountability as well as the national eco-developmental strategy must have a high status in the governmental agenda

Keywords: Green New Developmentalism; Climate Change; Forest Change; Economic Complexity; Policy Coordination

JEL classification: Q01 Q32 Q55 Q56