Seminar - The political economy of green growth

Finn Tarp, Director of UNU-WIDER delivered a seminar on 'The Political Economy of Green Growth' as part of the TCD/UCD Development Research Seminar Series 2012 organised by the Trinity International Development Initiative (TIDI) at Trinity College Dublin and the Human Development Initiative (HDI) at the University of Dublin.

Please view the video interview:


Concepts like 'Green Growth' imply that developmental objectives, such as job creation, economic prosperity and poverty alleviation, can be easily reconciled with environmental goals. However, rather than always being 'win-win,' Green Growth is similar to most types of policy reforms that advocate the acceptance of short-term adjustment costs in the expectation of long-term gains. In particular, Green Growth policies often encourage developing countries to redesign their national strategies in ways that might be inconsistent with natural comparative advantages and past investments. In turn, there are often sizeable anti-reform coalitions whose interests may conflict with a Green Growth agenda. This argument will be illustrated using case studies of Malawi, Mozambique, and South Africa, which are engaged in development strategies that rely on inorganic fertilizers, biofuels production, and coal-based energy, respectively. Each of these countries is pursuing an environmentally-suboptimal strategy for addressing critical development needs, including food security, fuel, and electricity. Yet, adopting a Green Growth approach would not only be economically costly but also generate substantial domestic resistance, especially amongst the poor.'