IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ags/feemmi/244334.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Priority for the Worse Off and the Social Cost of Carbon

Author

Listed:
  • Adler, Matthew
  • Anthoff, David
  • Bosetti, Valentina
  • Garner, Greg
  • Keller, Klaus
  • Treich, Nicolas

Abstract

The social cost of carbon (SCC) is a monetary measure of the harms from carbon emission. Specifically, it is the reduction in current consumption that produces a loss in social welfare equivalent to that caused by the emission of a ton of CO2. The standard approach is to calculate the SCC using a discounted-utilitarian social welfare function (SWF)—one that simply adds up the well-being numbers (utilities) of individuals, as discounted by a weighting factor that decreases with time. The discounted-utilitarian SWF has been criticized both for ignoring the distribution of well-being, and for including an arbitrary preference for earlier generations. Here, we use a prioritarian SWF, with no time-discount factor, to calculate the SCC in the integrated assessment model RICE. Prioritarianism is a well-developed concept in ethics and theoretical welfare economics, but has been, thus far, little used in climate scholarship. The core idea is to give greater weight to well-being changes affecting worse off individuals. We find substantial differences between the discounted-utilitarian and non-discounted prioritarian SCC.

Suggested Citation

  • Adler, Matthew & Anthoff, David & Bosetti, Valentina & Garner, Greg & Keller, Klaus & Treich, Nicolas, 2016. "Priority for the Worse Off and the Social Cost of Carbon," MITP: Mitigation, Innovation and Transformation Pathways 244334, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:feemmi:244334
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.244334
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/244334/files/NDL2016-055.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. R. M. Solow, 1974. "Intergenerational Equity and Exhaustible Resources," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(5), pages 29-45.
    2. Williams, Andrew, 2012. "The Priority View Bites the Dust?," Utilitas, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(3), pages 315-331, September.
    3. Orazio P. Attanasio & James Banks & Sarah Tanner, 2002. "Asset Holding and Consumption Volatility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 771-792, August.
    4. W. Botzen & Jeroen Bergh, 2014. "Specifications of Social Welfare in Economic Studies of Climate Policy: Overview of Criteria and Related Policy Insights," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 58(1), pages 1-33, May.
    5. Blackorby,Charles & Bossert,Walter & Donaldson,David J., 2005. "Population Issues in Social Choice Theory, Welfare Economics, and Ethics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521532587.
    6. Moritz A. Drupp & Mark C. Freeman & Ben Groom & Frikk Nesje, 2018. "Discounting Disentangled," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 109-134, November.
    7. Brown, Campbell, 2005. "Priority Or Sufficiency €¦Or Both?," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 21(2), pages 199-220, October.
    8. Robert S. Pindyck, 2013. "Climate Change Policy: What Do the Models Tell Us?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(3), pages 860-872, September.
    9. Jukka Pirttilä & Roope Uusitalo, 2010. "A ‘Leaky Bucket’ in the Real World: Estimating Inequality Aversion using Survey Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 77(305), pages 60-76, January.
    10. 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.
    11. Mirrlees, J. A. & Stern, N. H., 1972. "Fairly good plans," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 268-288, April.
    12. Anthoff, David & Hepburn, Cameron & Tol, Richard S.J., 2009. "Equity weighting and the marginal damage costs of climate change," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 836-849, January.
    13. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1991. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 263-286, April.
    14. Paul Dolan & Rebecca Shaw & Aki Tsuchiya & Alan Williams, 2005. "QALY maximisation and people's preferences: a methodological review of the literature," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(2), pages 197-208.
    15. Anand, Sudhir & Sen, Amartya, 2000. "Human Development and Economic Sustainability," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(12), pages 2029-2049, December.
    16. Szpiro, George G, 1986. "Measuring Risk Aversion: An Alternative Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(1), pages 156-159, February.
    17. Richard S.J. Tol, 2011. "The Social Cost of Carbon," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 3(1), pages 419-443, October.
    18. William D. Nordhaus, 2007. "A Review of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 686-702, September.
    19. Burke, M. & Craxton, M. & Kolstad, C.D. & Onda, C. & Allcott, H. & Baker, E. & Barrage, L. & Carson, R. & Gillingham, K. & Graff-Zivin, J. & Greenstone, M. & Hallegatte, S. & Hanemann, W.M. & Heal, G., 2016. "Opportunities for advances in climate change economics," ISU General Staff Papers 3565, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    20. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521700801 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. David Anthoff & Richard Tol, 2014. "Climate policy under fat-tailed risk: an application of FUND," Annals of Operations Research, Springer, vol. 220(1), pages 223-237, September.
    22. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Stefan Nagel, 2008. "Do Wealth Fluctuations Generate Time-Varying Risk Aversion? Micro-evidence on Individuals," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 713-736, June.
    23. Matthew Adler & Nicolas Treich, 2015. "Prioritarianism and Climate Change," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 62(2), pages 279-308, October.
    24. Azar, Christian & Sterner, Thomas, 1996. "Discounting and distributional considerations in the context of global warming," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 169-184, November.
    25. Dietz, Simon & Asheim, Geir B., 2012. "Climate policy under sustainable discounted utilitarianism," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 321-335.
    26. Martin L. Weitzman, 2007. "A Review of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 703-724, September.
    27. Yoram Amiel & John Creedy & Stan Hurn, 1999. "Measuring Attitudes Towards Inequality," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 101(1), pages 83-96, March.
    28. Christian Gollier, 2004. "The Economics of Risk and Time," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262572249.
    29. Nicholas Stern, 2008. "The Economics of Climate Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 1-37, May.
    30. Richard S. J. Tol & In Chang Hwang & Frédéric Reynès, 2012. "The Effect of Learning on Climate Policy under Fat-tailed Uncertainty," Working Paper Series 5312, Department of Economics, University of Sussex Business School.
    31. Pierre‐André Chiappori & Monica Paiella, 2011. "Relative Risk Aversion Is Constant: Evidence From Panel Data," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(6), pages 1021-1052, December.
    32. Partha Dasgupta, 2008. "Discounting climate change," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 141-169, December.
    33. Porter, Thomas, 2012. "In Defence of the Priority View," Utilitas, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(3), pages 349-364, September.
    34. Raj Chetty, 2006. "A New Method of Estimating Risk Aversion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1821-1834, December.
    35. Fredrik Carlsson & Dinky Daruvala & Olof Johansson-Stenman, 2005. "Are People Inequality-Averse, or Just Risk-Averse?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 72(3), pages 375-396, August.
    36. Tungodden, Bertil, 2003. "The Value Of Equality," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 1-44, April.
    37. Hope, Chris, 2008. "Discount rates, equity weights and the social cost of carbon," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 1011-1019, May.
    38. Dietz, Simon & Asheim, Geir B., 2012. "Climate policy under sustainable discounted utilitarianism," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 321-335.
    39. Nordhaus, William, 2007. "Alternative measures of output in global economic-environmental models: Purchasing power parity or market exchange rates?," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 349-372, May.
    40. Parfit, Derek, 2012. "Another Defence of the Priority View," Utilitas, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(3), pages 399-440, September.
    41. Jukka Pirttilä & Roope Uusitalo, 2010. "A ‘Leaky Bucket’ in the Real World: Estimating Inequality Aversion using Survey Data," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 77(305), pages 60-76, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jeeman:v:95:y:2019:i:c:p:198-226 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Resource /Energy Economics and Policy;

    JEL classification:

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

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:feemmi:244334. 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: (AgEcon Search). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/feemmit.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.