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Consistent climate policies


  • Reyer Gerlagh
  • Matti Liski


What are the optimal climate policies when time preferences deviate from the standard exponential discounting and decision makers cannot commit to future policies? We show that, with time-declining discounting, the delay and persistence of climate impacts provide a commitment device to policy makers. We quantify the commitment value in a climate-economy model by solving time-consistent Markov equilibrium capital and emission taxes explicitly. The returns on capital and climate investments are no longer equal, leading to a large increase in the emission tax, compared to a benchmark with equalized returns. The commitment value increases the tax by a factor of 20 in our quantitative assessment.

Suggested Citation

  • Reyer Gerlagh & Matti Liski, 2018. "Consistent climate policies," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 16(1), pages 1-44.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jeurec:v:16:y:2018:i:1:p:1-44.

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    Cited by:

    1. Hiroaki Sakamoto & Masako Ikefuji & Jan R. Magnus, 2020. "Adaptation for Mitigation," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 75(3), pages 457-484, March.
    2. Traeger, Christian, 2021. "ACE - Analytic Climate Economy," CEPR Discussion Papers 15968, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Li, Qingran & Pizer, William A., 2021. "Use of the consumption discount rate for public policy over the distant future," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 107(C).
    4. Moritz A. Drupp & Martin C. Hänsel, 2021. "Relative Prices and Climate Policy: How the Scarcity of Nonmarket Goods Drives Policy Evaluation," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 13(1), pages 168-201, February.
    5. Rick Van der Ploeg, 2020. "Discounting And Climate Policy," OxCarre Working Papers 244, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford.
    6. Hiroaki SAKAMOTO & Larry KARP, 2019. "Sober optimism and the formation of international environmental agreements," Discussion papers e-19-002, Graduate School of Economics , Kyoto University.
    7. Dietz, Simon & Venmans, Frank, 2019. "Cumulative carbon emissions and economic policy: In search of general principles," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 108-129.
    8. Arvaniti, Maria & Habla, Wolfgang, 2020. "The political economy of negotiating international carbon markets," ZEW Discussion Papers 20-020, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    9. Hillebrand, Elmar & Hillebrand, Marten, 2019. "Optimal climate policies in a dynamic multi-country equilibrium model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 200-239.
    10. Cees A. Withagen, 2018. "The Social Cost of Carbon and the Ramsey Rule," CESifo Working Paper Series 7359, CESifo.

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