Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Risk, inequality and time in the welfare economics of climate change: is the workhorse model underspecified?

Contents:

Author Info

  • Cameron Hepburn
  • Hakon Sælen
  • Giles Atkinson

Abstract

In the workhorse  model of welfare economics, the elasticity of marginal utility, often denoted as η, serves simultaneously to represent aversion to risk, aversion to spatial inequality, and preferences for intertemporal substitution.  While Kreps-Porteus-Selden and Epstein-Zin preferences enable risk to be separated from intertemporal substitution, no model enables all tlhree concepts to be disentangled.  This theoretical lacuna is important, particularly for the economics of climate change, which is a global, long-run, uncertain externality.  Much debate, for instance in the wake of the Stern Review (Stern, 2007a) has focused on the appropriate value for η.  This paper tests the suitability of the workhorse model for climate change economics, by surveying the attitudes of over 3000 people to risk, time, and income inequality.  The results show that individual attitudes to the three are only weakly correlated.  This suggests that because the three concepts are captured by a single parameter, the model is underspecified and a richer model should be considered.

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://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/working_papers/paper400.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 400.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: 01 Jul 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:400

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Manor Rd. Building, Oxford, OX1 3UQ
Email:
Web page: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Climate Change; Discounting; Cost-Benefit Analysis; Risk Aversion; Intertemporal Substitution; Inequality Aversion; Intergenerational Equity;

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. Olof Johansson-Stenman & Fredrik Carlsson & Dinky Daruvala, 2002. "Measuring Future Grandparents" Preferences for Equality and Relative Standing," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(479), pages 362-383, April.
  2. Jianakoplos, Nancy Ammon & Bernasek, Alexandra, 1998. "Are Women More Risk Averse?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(4), pages 620-30, October.
  3. John C. Harsanyi, 1955. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 309.
  4. Bateman, Ian J. & Day, Brett H. & Jones, Andrew P. & Jude, Simon, 2009. "Reducing gain-loss asymmetry: A virtual reality choice experiment valuing land use change," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 106-118, July.
  5. Minh Ha-Duong & Nicolas Treich, 2004. "Risk Aversion, Intergenerational Equity and Climate Change," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 28(2), pages 195-207, June.
  6. Hartog, Joop & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada & Jonker, Nicole, 2002. "Linking Measured Risk Aversion to Individual Characteristics," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 3-26.
  7. Robert B. Barsky & Miles S. Kimball & F. Thomas Juster & Matthew D. Shapiro, 1997. "Preference Parameters and Behavioral Heterogeneity: An Experimental Approach in the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Working Papers 5213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Bukszar, Ed & Knetsch, Jack L, 1997. "Fragile Redistribution Choices behind a Veil of Ignorance," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 63-74, January.
  9. Gollier, Christian, 2006. "An Evaluation of Stern's Report on the Economics of Climate Change," IDEI Working Papers 464, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  10. Arie Kapteyn & Federica Teppa, 2003. "Hypothetical Intertemporal Consumption Choices," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(486), pages C140-C152, March.
  11. R. Mehra & E. Prescott, 2010. "The equity premium: a puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1401, David K. Levine.
  12. Christian Gollier, 2004. "The Economics of Risk and Time," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262572249, January.
  13. Samuel Fankhauser & Richard Tol & DAVID Pearce, 1997. "The Aggregation of Climate Change Damages: a Welfare Theoretic Approach," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 10(3), pages 249-266, October.
  14. Chris Starmer, 2000. "Developments in Non-expected Utility Theory: The Hunt for a Descriptive Theory of Choice under Risk," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 332-382, June.
  15. William D. Nordhaus, 2006. "The "Stern Review" on the Economics of Climate Change," NBER Working Papers 12741, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Kreps, David M & Porteus, Evan L, 1978. "Temporal Resolution of Uncertainty and Dynamic Choice Theory," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 185-200, January.
  17. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L., 1992. "Valuing public goods: The purchase of moral satisfaction," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 57-70, January.
  18. Carson, Richard T & Flores, Nicholas A, 2000. "Contingent Valuation: Controversies and Evidence," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt75k752s7, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  19. Carlsson, Fredrik & Daruvala, Dinky & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2001. "Are People Inequality Averse Or Just Risk Averse?," Working Papers in Economics 43, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Peter A. Diamond & Jerry A. Hausman, 1994. "Contingent Valuation: Is Some Number Better than No Number?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 45-64, Fall.
  23. 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.
  24. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. " Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
  25. Wilfred Beckerman & Cameron Hepburn, 2007. "Ethics of the Discount Rate in the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change," World Economics, World Economics, Economic & Financial Publishing, 1 Ivory Square, Plantation Wharf, London, United Kingdom, SW11 3UE, vol. 8(1), pages 187-210, January.
  26. Rafael Di Tella & Robert MacCulloch, 2006. "Some Uses of Happiness Data in Economics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 25-46, Winter.
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. Anthoff, David, 2009. "Optimal Global Dynamic Carbon Taxation," Papers WP278, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  2. Richard S. J. Tol, 2010. "The Economic Impact of Climate Change," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 11(s1), pages 13-37, 05.

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:oxf:wpaper:400. 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: (Caroline Wise).

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.