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Uncertainty, Learning, and Optimal Technological Portfolios: A Dynamic General Equilibrium Approach to Climate Change

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  • Seung-Rae Kim

    ()
    (Woodrow Wilson School Princeton University)

Abstract

How is the design of efficient climate policies affected by the potentials for induced technological change and for future learning about key parameter uncertainties? We address this question using a new integrated climate-economy model incorporating endogenous technological change to explore optimal technological portfolios against global warming in the presence of uncertainty and learning. We explicitly consider the interplays between induced innovation, the stringency of environmental policies, and possible environmental risks within the general equilibrium framework of probabilistic integrated assessment. We find that the value of resolving key scientific uncertainties would be non-trivial in the face of binding climate limits, but at the same time it can significantly decrease with induced innovation and knowledge spillovers that might otherwise be absent. The results also show that scientific uncertainties in climate change could justify immediate mitigation actions and accelerated investments in new energy technologies, reflecting risk-reducing considerations.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Society for Computational Economics in its series Computing in Economics and Finance 2005 with number 54.

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Date of creation: 11 Nov 2005
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Handle: RePEc:sce:scecf5:54

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Keywords: Uncertainty; Learning; Optimal technological portfolios; Endogenous technological change; Stochastic growth model; Probabilistic integrated assessment; Carbon-free technology; Expected value of information;

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  1. Corsetti, Giancarlo, 1997. "A portfolio approach to endogenous growth: equilibrium and optimal policy," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 21(10), pages 1627-1644, August.
  2. Campbell, John Y, 1996. "Understanding Risk and Return," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(2), pages 298-345, April.
  3. Pizer, William A., 1999. "The optimal choice of climate change policy in the presence of uncertainty," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3-4), pages 255-287, August.
  4. Maurice Obstfeld, 1992. "Risk-taking, global diversification, and growth," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 61, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
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  6. William D. Nordhaus & David Popp, 1996. "What is the Value of Scientific Knowledge? An Application to Global Warming Using the PRICE Model," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1117, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  7. Barro, R.J., 1988. "Government Spending In A Simple Model Of Endogenous Growth," RCER Working Papers 130, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  8. David F. Bradford & Seung-Rae Kim & Klaus Keller, 2004. "Optimal Technological Portfolios for Climate-Change Policy under Uncertainty: A Computable General Equilibrium Approach," Computing in Economics and Finance 2004 140, Society for Computational Economics.
  9. 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.
  10. Gollier, Christian & Jullien, Bruno & Treich, Nicolas, 2000. "Scientific progress and irreversibility: an economic interpretation of the 'Precautionary Principle'," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 229-253, February.
  11. Popp, David, 2004. "ENTICE: endogenous technological change in the DICE model of global warming," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 742-768, July.
  12. Kelly, David L. & Kolstad, Charles D., 1999. "Bayesian learning, growth, and pollution," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 491-518, February.
  13. Sims, Ralph E. H. & Rogner, Hans-Holger & Gregory, Ken, 2003. "Carbon emission and mitigation cost comparisons between fossil fuel, nuclear and renewable energy resources for electricity generation," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(13), pages 1315-1326, October.
  14. Kolstad, Charles D., 1996. "Learning and Stock Effects in Environmental Regulation: The Case of Greenhouse Gas Emissions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 1-18, July.
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