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Climate policy with Bentham–Rawls preferences

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  • Tol, Richard S.J.

Abstract

A Bentham–Rawls welfare function is the weighted sum of the net present welfare (Bentham) and the welfare of the worst-off generation (Rawls). If utility is non-decreasing over time, optimal climate policy is more stringent in the near-term under the Bentham criterion than under the Bentham–Rawls criterion. If utility is decreasing, Bentham–Rawls abatement is higher. If there is a chance of decreasing utility, Bentham–Rawls optimal climate policy is probably less stringent than Bentham policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Tol, Richard S.J., 2013. "Climate policy with Bentham–Rawls preferences," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 118(3), pages 424-428.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:118:y:2013:i:3:p:424-428
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2012.12.006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alvarez-Cuadrado, Francisco & Van Long, Ngo, 2009. "A mixed Bentham-Rawls criterion for intergenerational equity: Theory and implications," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 154-168, September.
    2. Anthoff, David & Tol, Richard S.J., 2010. "On international equity weights and national decision making on climate change," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 14-20, July.
    3. Martin L. Weitzman, 2012. "GHG Targets as Insurance Against Catastrophic Climate Damages," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 14(2), pages 221-244, March.
    4. Fankhauser, Samuel & S.J. Tol, Richard, 2005. "On climate change and economic growth," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 1-17, January.
    5. Zuber, Stéphane & Asheim, Geir B., 2012. "Justifying social discounting: The rank-discounted utilitarian approach," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(4), pages 1572-1601.
    6. 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.
    7. Bentham, Jeremy, 1781. "An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number bentham1781.
    8. Graciela Chichilnisky, 1996. "An axiomatic approach to sustainable development," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 13(2), pages 231-257, April.
    9. Tol, Richard S.J., 2013. "Targets for global climate policy: An overview," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 911-928.
    10. Van Liedekerke, Luc & Lauwers, Luc, 1997. "Sacrificing the Patrol: Utilitarianism, Future Generations and Infinity," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(2), pages 159-174, October.
    11. Asheim, Geir B. & Mitra, Tapan, 2010. "Sustainability and discounted utilitarianism in models of economic growth," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 148-169, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Figuières, Charles & Long, Ngo Van & Tidball, Mabel, 2017. "The MBR intertemporal choice criterion and Rawls’ just savings principle," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 11-22.
    2. van den Bergh, J.C.J.M. & Botzen, W.J.W., 2015. "Monetary valuation of the social cost of CO2 emissions: A critical survey," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 33-46.
    3. Ngo Long & Vincent Martinet, 2018. "Combining rights and welfarism: a new approach to intertemporal evaluation of social alternatives," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 50(1), pages 35-64, January.
    4. Havranek, Tomas & Irsova, Zuzana & Janda, Karel & Zilberman, David, 2015. "Selective reporting and the social cost of carbon," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 394-406.
    5. Richard S J Tol, 2018. "The Economic Impacts of Climate Change," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 12(1), pages 4-25.
    6. W. J. Wouter Botzen & Jeroen C. J. M. Van Den Bergh & Graciela Chichilnisky, 2018. "Climate Policy Without Intertemporal Dictatorship: Chichilnisky Criterion Versus Classical Utilitarianism In Dice," Climate Change Economics (CCE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 9(02), pages 1-17, May.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Climate policy; Social cost of carbon; Bentham–Rawls criterion;

    JEL classification:

    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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