Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

A Dynamic Analysis of Human Welfare in a Warming Planet

Contents:

Author Info

  • Humberto Llavador

    (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

  • John E. Roemer

    ()
    (Yale University)

  • Joaquim Silvestre

    (University of California, Davis)

Abstract

Anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have caused atmospheric concentrations with no precedents in the last half a million years, inducing serious uncertainties about future climates and their effects on human welfare. Recent climate science supports the view that the climate stabilization will require very low GHG emissions in the future. We ask: Is a path of low emissions compatible with sustainable levels of human welfare? With steady growth in human quality of life? Addressing these questions requires both defining welfare criteria and empirically estimating the possible paths of the economy. We specify and calibrate a dynamic model with four intertemporal links: education, physical capital, knowledge and the environment. In line with Nordhaus (2008a) and with the Stern Review (2007), we assume that GHG emissions allow increased production, while a higher stock of atmospheric carbon decreases production. Our index of human welfare, which we call quality of life (QuoL), emphasizes education, knowledge, and the environment, affected by greenhouse gas emissions, in addition to consumption and leisure. Thus, we avoid a Consumptionist Fallacy –- that welfare depends only on commodity consumption and perhaps leisure. We reject discounted utilitarianism as a normative criterion, and consider two alternatives. The first is an intergenerational maximin criterion, which maximizes the quality of life of the first generation subject to maintaining at least that level for all successive generations. The second is human development optimization, that seeks the maximization of the QuoL of the first generation subject to achieving a given, constant rate of growth in all subsequent generations. Hence, our analysis focuses on a human notion of sustainability, as opposed to the conventional "green" sustainability, limited to keeping the quality of the environment constant. Because our dynamic optimization programs defy explicit analytical solutions, our approach has been computational. As a benchmark, we consider a simple model with physical and human capital, for which we prove a turnpike theorem. We then devise a computational algorithm inspired by the turnpike property to construct feasible, although not necessarily optimal, paths in the more complex and realistic model. Our analysis indicates that, with GHG emission paths entailing very low emissions in the future, positive rates of growth in QuoL are possible while the first generation experiences a QuoL higher than the historical reference level. We also observe a tradeoff between the quality of life of the first generation and the rate of growth in the quality of life. Yet Generation 1's sacrifice for the sake of a higher growth rate appears to be small. The paths that we compute involve investments in knowledge at noticeably higher levels than in the past.

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://cowles.econ.yale.edu/P/cd/d16b/d1673.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University in its series Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers with number 1673.

as in new window
Length: 69 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1673

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA
Phone: (203) 432-3702
Fax: (203) 432-6167
Web page: http://cowles.econ.yale.edu/
More information through EDIRC

Order Information:
Postal: Cowles Foundation, Yale University, Box 208281, New Haven, CT 06520-8281 USA

Related research

Keywords: Quality of life; Climate change; Education; Maximin; Growth;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

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. Krautkraemer, Jeffrey A, 1985. "Optimal Growth, Resource Amenities, and the Preservation of Natural Environments," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 153-70, January.
  2. Philip Oreopoulos & Kjell G. Salvanes, 2011. "Priceless: The Nonpecuniary Benefits of Schooling," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(1), pages 159-84, Winter.
  3. Joaquim Silvestre, 2002. "Progress and conservation under Rawls's maximin principle," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 1-27.
  4. Humberto Llavador & John E. Roemer & Joaquim Silvestre, 2010. "Intergenerational Justice When Future Worlds are Uncertain," Working Papers 473, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  5. Gerlagh, Reyer & van der Zwaan, B. C. C., 2002. "Long-Term Substitutability between Environmental and Man-Made Goods," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 329-345, September.
  6. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-37, October.
  7. Martin L. Weitzman, 2007. "A Review of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 703-724, September.
  8. John Roemer, 2011. "The Ethics of Intertemporal Distribution in a Warming Planet," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 48(3), pages 363-390, March.
  9. Salvador Ortigueira, 2000. "A dynamic analysis of an endogenous growth model with leisure," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 43-62.
  10. Arrow Kenneth J, 2007. "Global Climate Change: A Challenge to Policy," The Economists' Voice, De Gruyter, vol. 4(3), pages 1-5, June.
  11. Simon Dietz & Chris Hope & Nicholas Stern & Dimitri Zenghelis, 2007. "REFLECTIONS ON THE STERN REVIEW (1) A Robust Case for Strong Action to Reduce the Risks of Climate Change," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 8(1), pages 121-168, January.
  12. Nordhaus, William D, 1991. "To Slow or Not to Slow: The Economics of the Greenhouse Effect," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(407), pages 920-37, July.
  13. Neumayer, Eric, 1999. "Global warming: discounting is not the issue, but substitutability is," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 33-43, January.
  14. D. Gale Johnson, 2000. "Population, Food, and Knowledge," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 1-14, March.
  15. Sergio T. Rebelo, 1990. "Long Run Policy Analysis and Long Run Growth," NBER Working Papers 3325, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Daniel Kahneman & Alan B. Krueger, 2006. "Developments in the Measurement of Subjective Well-Being," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 3-24, Winter.
  17. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  18. William D. Nordhaus, 2007. "A Review of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 686-702, September.
  19. Angel de la Fuente & Rafael Domenech, 2001. "Schooling Data, Technological Diffusion, and the Neoclassical Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 323-327, May.
  20. John E. Roemer, 2005. "Intergenerational Justice and Sustainability under the Leximin Ethic," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1512, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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. Michele Lombardi & Kahame Miyagishima & Roberto Veneziani, 2013. "Liberal Egalitarianism and the Harm Principle," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2013-07, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  2. Humberto Llavador & John E. Roemer & Joaquim Silvestre, 2010. "North-South Convergence and the Allocation of CO2 Emissions," Working Papers 493, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  3. Andreas Peichl & Nico Pestel, 2013. "Multidimensional Well‐Being at the Top: Evidence for Germany," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 34, pages 355-371, 09.
  4. Humberto Llavador & John E. Roemer & Joaquim Silvestre, 2009. "Intergenerational Justice when Future Worlds Are Uncertain," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1692, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  5. Rozenberg, Julie & Vogt-Schilb, Adrien & Hallegatte, Stephane, 2013. "How capital-based instruments facilitate the transition toward a low-carbon economy : a tradeoff between optimality and acceptability," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6609, The World Bank.
  6. Giménez Gómez, José M. (José Manuel) & Teixidó Figueras, Jordi Josep & Vilella Bach, Misericòrdia, 2014. "The global carbon budget:a conflicting claims problem," Working Papers 2072/237597, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Economics.
  7. Cairns, Robert D. & Martinet, Vincent, 2014. "An environmental-economic measure of sustainable development," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 4-17.
  8. John Roemer, 2011. "The Ethics of Intertemporal Distribution in a Warming Planet," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 48(3), pages 363-390, March.
  9. John Roemer, 2013. "Once More on Intergenerational Discounting in Climate-Change Analysis: Reply to Partha Dasgupta," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 56(1), pages 141-148, September.
  10. 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.
  11. Dieckhoener, Caroline & Hecking, Harald, 2012. "Greenhouse Gas Abatement Cost Curves of the Residential Heating Market – a Microeconomic Approach," EWI Working Papers 2012-16, Energiewirtschaftliches Institut an der Universitaet zu Koeln.
  12. Humberto Llavador & John E. Roemer & Joaquim Silvestre, 2012. "Should we sustain? And if so, sustain what? Consumption or the quality of life?," Working Papers 1222, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.

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:cwl:cwldpp:1673. 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: (Glena Ames).

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.