IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Circumspection, reciprocity, and optimal carbon prices

Listed author(s):
  • Robert Kopp


  • Bryan Mignone
Registered author(s):

    Assessments of the benefits of climate change mitigation—and thus of the appropriate stringency of greenhouse gas emissions abatement—depend upon ethical, legal, and political economic considerations. Global climate change mitigation is often represented as a repeated prisoners’ dilemma in which the net benefits of sustained global cooperation exceed the net benefits of uncooperative unilateral action for any given actor. Global cooperation can be motivated either by circumspection—a decision to account for the damages one’s own actions inflict upon others—or by the expectation of reciprocity from others. If the marginal global benefits of abatement are approximately constant in total abatement, the domestically optimal price approaches the global cooperative optimum linearly with increasing circumspection and reciprocity. Approximately constant marginal benefits are expected if climate damages are quadratic in temperature and if the airborne fraction of carbon emissions is constant. If, on the other hand, damages increase with temperature faster than quadratically or carbon sinks weaken significantly with increasing CO 2 concentrations, marginal benefits will decline with abatement. In this case, the approach to the global optimum is concave and less than full circumspection and/or reciprocity can lead to optimal domestic abatement close to the global optimum. Copyright The Author(s) 2013

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Climatic Change.

    Volume (Year): 120 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 4 (October)
    Pages: 831-843

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:spr:climat:v:120:y:2013:i:4:p:831-843
    DOI: 10.1007/s10584-013-0858-5
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Web:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. Scott Barrett, 2002. "Consensus Treaties," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 158(4), pages 529-529, December.
    2. 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, 03.
    3. 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.
    4. Kopp, Robert E. & Golub, Alexander & Keohane, Nathaniel O. & Onda, Chikara, 2012. "The influence of the specification of climate change damages on the social cost of carbon," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 6, pages 1-40.
    5. Eom, Jiyong & Calvin, Kate & Clarke, Leon & Edmonds, Jae & Kim, Sonny & Kopp, Robert & Kyle, Page & Luckow, Patrick & Moss, Richard & Patel, Pralit & Wise, Marshall, 2012. "Exploring the future role of Asia utilizing a Scenario Matrix Architecture and Shared Socio-economic Pathways," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(S3), pages 325-338.
    6. Ackerman, Frank & Stanton, Elizabeth A. & Bueno, Ramón, 2010. "Fat tails, exponents, extreme uncertainty: Simulating catastrophe in DICE," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(8), pages 1657-1665, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:spr:climat:v:120:y:2013:i:4:p:831-843. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla)

    or (Rebekah McClure)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.