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Economics, institutions and adaptation to climate change

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  • Oberlack, Christoph
  • Neumärker, Bernhard
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    Abstract

    Adaptation to the consequences of climate change has attracted increasing interest as a necessary complement to greenhouse gas mitigation. Economic approaches to climate adaptation are rarely articulated and discussed explicitly despite many benefits of such a framework-level discourse. Therefore, this article investigates how climate adaptation is framed and approached in economics and attempts to contribute to the development of economic frameworks of climate adaptation. First, the paper identifies and critically reviews four major strands of current adaptation economics: estimation of adaptation benefits and costs, strategies for adaptation, the role of markets and governments, and policy instruments for adaptation. While having their merits, serious methodical difficulties prevail. Moreover, the applied neoclassical framing seems too narrow to capture the plethora of governance challenges and normative criteria revealed in adaptation policy discourses and in the multidisciplinary adaptation literature. The second part of this article outlines an institutional economics approach to climate adaptation that addresses caveats in the current state-of-the-art and offers additional concepts to study climate adaptation. Moreover, promising methods and strategies for adaptation research are presented and future research directions suggested. Finally, the paper assesses the normative foundations of climate adaptation economics and their implications for positive adaptation research. --

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of Freiburg, Department of Economic Policy and Constitutional Economic Theory in its series The Constitutional Economics Network Working Papers with number 04-2011.

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    Date of creation: 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:cenwps:042011

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    Keywords: Economics of Climate Change Adaptation; Institutional Economics; Governance of Climate Adaptation; Adaptive Capacity; Barriers; Normative Economics;

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    1. Lecocq, Franck & Shalizi, Zmarak, 2007. "Balancing expenditures on mitigation of and adaptation to climate change : an exploration of Issues relevant to developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4299, The World Bank.
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    3. Paavola, Jouni & Adger, W. Neil, 2005. "Institutional ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 353-368, May.
    4. Bernhard Neumärker & Gerald Pech, 2011. "Penalties in the Theory of Equilibrium Tax Evasion: Solving King John's Problem," Public Finance Review, , vol. 39(1), pages 5-24, January.
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    12. Roger Congleton, 2006. "The story of Katrina: New Orleans and the political economy of catastrophe," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 127(1), pages 5-30, April.
    13. Daniel Osberghaus & Astrid Dannenberg & Tim Mennel & Bodo Sturm, 2010. "The role of the government in adaptation to climate change," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 28(5), pages 834-850, October.
    14. de Bruin, Kelly Chloe & Weikard, Hans-Peter & Dellink, Rob, 2011. "The Role of Proactive Adaptation in International Climate Change Mitigation Agreements," CERE Working Papers 2011:9, CERE - the Center for Environmental and Resource Economics.
    15. Richard S. J. Tol, 2009. "The Economic Effects of Climate Change," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(2), pages 29-51, Spring.
    16. Hallegatte, Stephane & Lecocq, Franck & de Perthuis, Christian, 2011. "Designing climate change adaptation policies : an economic framework," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5568, The World Bank.
    17. van den Bergh, Jeroen C. J. M., 2004. "Optimal climate policy is a utopia: from quantitative to qualitative cost-benefit analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 385-393, April.
    18. Stine Aakre & Dirk Rubbelke, 2010. "Objectives of public economic policy and the adaptation to climate change," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(6), pages 767-791.
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