Economist Examines Tension Between Sustainability and Environmental Policies of Developing Nations

RIT professor Amit Batabyal’s new book considers the management of renewable resources

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Weighty issues of sustainability have troubled economist Amit Batabyal for more than a decade: how to provide safe drinking water to flood victims in developing countries, how to grow crops without depleting the soil of nutrients, how tariffs might reduce the illegal trade of elephant tusks and rhino horns.

In his new book, Dynamic and Stochastic Approaches to the Environment and Economic Development (World Scientific Publishing Co. Inc.), Batabyal, a professor at Rochester Institute of Technology, explores the implementation of environmental policy of developing countries in previously published and unpublished essays.

The body of work is Batabyal’s response to the 1987 Brundtland Report commissioned by the United Nations and led by former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland. The report, conducted by the World Commission on Environment and Development, introduced the idea of sustainable development as a means of mitigating the impact of human activity on the planet and ensuring the availability of natural resources for future generations.

Batabyal applies theoretical modeling tools involving decision-making under uncertainty to problems facing developing nations in the management of their renewable resources, and addresses the potential conflict between environmental and trade policies.

“Poverty is a big disincentive in managing resources in a sustainable manner,” says Batabyal, the Arthur J. Gosnell Professor of Economics at RIT.

Batabyal’s essays cover controversial and humanitarian aspects of environmental and economic development, such as swidden agriculture (also known as “slash-and-burn”) and providing fresh drinking water to flood victims in the flood-prone regions of South and South East Asia. He dedicates a chapter to agriculture as a renewable resource since the economies of most developing nations are agrarian. The author considers renewable resources in general and environmental policies encompassing sectors at different stages of development. Batabyal also studies the impact of corruption in the implementation of environmental policies by developing countries.

Batabyal is the author of four previous books and over 400 book chapters, refereed journal articles and book reviews. He has presented his research in conferences and in universities in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia and has won several international awards for his research.

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