Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Epstein–Zin Utility in DICE: Is Risk Aversion Irrelevant to Climate Policy?

Contents:

Author Info

  • Frank Ackerman

    ()

  • Elizabeth Stanton

    ()

  • Ramón Bueno

    ()

Abstract

Climate change involves uncertain probabilities of catastrophic risks, and very longterm consequences of current actions. Climate economics, therefore, is centrally concerned with the treatment of risk and time. Yet conventional assumptions about utility and optimal economic growth create a perverse connection between risk aversion and time preference, such that more aversion to current risks implies less concern for future outcomes, and vice versa. The same conflation of risk aversion and time preference leads to the equity premium puzzle in finance. A promising response to the equity premium puzzle, the recursive utility of Epstein and Zin, allows separation of risk aversion and time preference—at the cost of considerable analytic complexity. We introduce an accessible implementation of Epstein–Zin utility into the DICE model of climate economics, creating a hybrid “EZ-DICE” model. Using Epstein–Zin parameters from the finance literature and climate uncertainty parameters from the science literature, we find that the optimal climate policy in EZ-DICE calls for rapid abatement of carbon emissions; it is similar to standard DICE results with the discount rate set to equal the risk-free rate of return. EZ-DICE solutions are sensitive to the intertemporal elasticity of substitution, but remarkably insensitive to risk aversion. Insensitivity to risk aversion may reflect the difficulty of modeling catastrophic risks within DICE. Implicit in DICE are strong assumptions about the cost of climate stabilization and the certainty and speed of success; under these assumptions, risk aversion would in fact be unimportant. A more realistic analysis will require a subtler treatment of catastrophic climate risk. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10640-013-9645-z
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in its journal Environmental and Resource Economics.

Volume (Year): 56 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (September)
Pages: 73-84

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:56:y:2013:i:1:p:73-84

Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100263

Related research

Keywords: Climate economics; Risk aversion; Epstein–Zin utility; DICE; Integrated assessment modeling; Climate sensitivity; Catastrophic risk;

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Matthew Rabin, 2001. "Risk Aversion and Expected Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7667, David K. Levine.
  2. Buchholz, Wolfgang & Schymura, Michael, 2010. "Expected Utility theory and the tyranny of catastrophic risks," ZEW Discussion Papers 10-059, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  3. Noah Kaufman, 2012. "The bias of integrated assessment models that ignore climate catastrophes," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 110(3), pages 575-595, February.
  4. Ackerman, Frank & Stanton, Elizabeth A., 2012. "Climate risks and carbon prices: Revising the social cost of carbon," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy, vol. 6(10), pages 1-25.
  5. Minh Ha-Duong & Nicolas Treich, 2004. "Risk aversion, intergenerational equity and climate change," Post-Print halshs-00000680, HAL.
  6. Atkinson, Giles D. & Dietz, Simon & Helgeson, Jennifer & Hepburn, Cameron & Sælen, Håkon, 2009. "Siblings, not triplets: social preferences for risk, inequality and time in discounting climate change," Economics Discussion Papers 2009-14, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  7. Weitzman, Martin L., 2009. "On Modeling and Interpreting the Economics of Catastrophic Climate Change," Scholarly Articles 3693423, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
  9. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1991. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 263-86, April.
  10. Richard B. Howarth, 2003. "Discounting and Uncertainty in Climate Change Policy Analysis," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 79(3), pages 369-381.
  11. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1989. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: A Theoretical Framework," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 937-69, July.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Johannes Emmerling & Massimo Tavoni, 2013. "Geoengineering and Abatement: A “flat” Relationship under Uncertainty," Working Papers 2013.31, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  2. W. Botzen & Jeroen Bergh, 2014. "Specifications of Social Welfare in Economic Studies of Climate Policy: Overview of Criteria and Related Policy Insights," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 58(1), pages 1-33, May.
  3. Svenja Hector, 2013. "Accounting for Different Uncertainties: Implications for Climate Investments?," Working Papers 2013.107, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  4. Svenja Hector(), . "Accounting for Different Uncertainties: Implications for Climate Investments?," Working Papers ETH-RC-13-007, ETH Zurich, Chair of Systems Design.
  5. Noah Kaufman, 2014. "Why is risk aversion unaccounted for in environmental policy evaluations?," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 125(2), pages 127-135, July.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:56:y:2013:i:1:p:73-84. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Guenther Eichhorn) or (Christopher F. Baum).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.