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Pollution control under a possible future shift in environmental preferences

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  • Nkuiya, Bruno
  • Costello, Christopher

Abstract

We examine how the possibility of a future shift in environmental preferences affects optimal pollution emissions. For example, is a more stringent carbon cap called for if excessive carbon emissions today may trigger a shift toward greener preferences in the future? In contrast to the related literature, which largely focuses on regime shifts in damages, not preferences, we find that the possibility of a shift in environmental preferences can induce higher, or lower, optimal current emissions. This hinges on an economically interesting interplay between the magnitude of the possible shift, whether the shift is endogenous, and the magnitude of environmental damages. This helps reconcile the tension between the conservationists’ view of pollution reduction (to reduce damage and lessen the likelihood of regime shift) and the traditional economic rationale emphasizing risk and discounting.

Suggested Citation

  • Nkuiya, Bruno & Costello, Christopher, 2016. "Pollution control under a possible future shift in environmental preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 132(PB), pages 193-205.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:132:y:2016:i:pb:p:193-205
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2016.05.021
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Miller, Steve & Nkuiya, Bruno, 2016. "Coalition formation in fisheries with potential regime shift," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 189-207.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Pollution stock; Regime shift; Abrupt event; Dynamic analysis; Uncertainty; Environmental awareness;

    JEL classification:

    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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