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International inequity aversion and the social cost of carbon

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  • Richard S.J. Tol

    ()
    (Economic and Social Research Institute)

Abstract

I define the rate of inequity aversion, distinguishing between the pure rate and the consumption rate. I measure the rate of aversion to inequality in consumption as expressed in the development aid given by rich countries to poor ones between 1965 and 2005. There is an ambiguous relationship between the pure rate of inequity aversion and the consumption rate, driven by the rate of risk aversion. However, for a reasonable choice of the rate of risk aversion, rich countries are shown to be inequity averse, and increasingly so over time. The social cost of carbon is very sensitive to equity weighting and assumptions about the rate of risk and inequity aversion. Estimates for the consumption rate of inequity aversion for recent data suggest that the equity-weighted social cost of carbon is less than 50% larger than the unweighted estimate.

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File URL: http://www.fnu.zmaw.de/fileadmin/fnu-files/publication/working-papers/inequity3wp.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University in its series Working Papers with number FNU-178.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2009
Date of revision: Nov 2009
Handle: RePEc:sgc:wpaper:178

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Keywords: Inequity aversion; risk aversion; income distribution; development aid; climate change; social cost of carbon;

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  1. 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.
  2. Amiel, Yoram & Creedy, John & Hurn, Stan, 1999. " Measuring Attitudes towards Inequality," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 101(1), pages 83-96, March.
  3. Anthoff, David & Hepburn, Cameron & Tol, Richard S.J., 2009. "Equity weighting and the marginal damage costs of climate change," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 836-849, January.
  4. Schelling, Thomas C, 1995. "Intergenerational discounting," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(4-5), pages 395-401.
  5. Helgeson, Jennifer & Dietz, Simon & Atkinson, Giles D. & Hepburn, Cameron & Sælen, Håkon, 2009. "Siblings, not triplets: social preferences for risk, inequality and time in discounting climate change," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy, vol. 3(26), pages 1-28.
  6. Fredrik Carlsson & Dinky Daruvala & Olof Johansson-Stenman, 2005. "Are People Inequality-Averse, or Just Risk-Averse?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 72(3), pages 375-396, 08.
  7. Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2005. "Global environmental problems, efficiency and limited altruism," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 101-106, January.
  8. David Anthoff & Richard S. J. Tol, 2008. "On International Equity Weights and National Decision Making on Climate Change," CESifo Working Paper Series 2373, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. 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.
  10. Anthoff, David & Tol, Richard S. J. & Yohe, Gary W., 2009. "Discounting for Climate Change," Papers WP276, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  11. Azar, Christian & Sterner, Thomas, 1996. "Discounting and distributional considerations in the context of global warming," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 169-184, November.
  12. 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.
  13. David J. Evans, 2005. "The elasticity of marginal utility of consumption: estimates for 20 OECD countries," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 26(2), pages 197-224, June.
  14. Fankhauser, Samuel & Tol, Richard S.J. & Pearce, David W., 1998. "Extensions and alternatives to climate change impact valuation: on the critique of IPCC Working Group III's impact estimates," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(01), pages 59-81, February.
  15. Christian Azar, 1999. "Weight Factors in Cost-Benefit Analysis of Climate Change," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 13(3), pages 249-268, April.
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