A "Hong Kong" model of sustainable development

Document Type

Journal Article

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Sustainable development, Hong Kong




Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to discuss a Coasian interpretation of a model of sustainable development for Hong Kong that incorporates three segments, namely economy, society, and environment.

Design/Methodology/Approach: The approach is analytical, using concepts of property rights informed by Coasian neo‐institutional economics and Yu's ideas on the Schumpeterian process in innovation.

Findings: First, the sustainable development criteria must be non‐dictatorial, decentralized, and compatible with market economics. The emphasis is contractarian rather than legislative or administrative. Second, the essence of segment cooperation is to create a win‐win situation rather than an “integrated” rent seeking game, which will likely result in more values being created. Third, the requirement that it be progressive over time implies that programs and policies that are duplicative need to be avoided, and innovations are to be encouraged. Fourth, the requirement of satisfying only two aspects of the three segments of cooperation implies a less stringent standard of making stepwise improvements, and thus makes entrepreneurial efforts more likely. Last, the three segments of cooperation, if practiced simultaneously and improved over time, can achieve most, if not all, the principles in the Rio Declaration without aiming at a specific principle in the Declaration.

Research Limitations/Implications: This paper should focus on a “win‐win” rather than a mutually exploitative approach to public participation in sustainable development promotion.

Practical Implications: This paper should assist policymakers and politicians in understanding how sustainable development may be conceptually modelled.

Originality/Value: The paper is the first paper that defines for Hong Kong a model of sustainable development on the basis of Coasian economics, and contrasts it with other proposed models.

Source Publication

Property Management

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