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Time perspective and climate change policy

  • Karp, Larry

    ()

    (University of California, Berkeley. Dept of agricultural and resource economics and policy)

  • Tsur, Yacov

The tendency to foreshorten time units as we peer further into the future provides an explanation for hyperbolic discounting at an intergenerational time scale. We study implications of hyperbolic discounting for climate change policy, when the probability of a climate-induced catastrophe depends on the stock of greenhouse gasses. We provide a positive analysis by characterizing the set of Markov perfect equilibria (MPE) of the intergenerational game amongst a succession of policymakers. Each policymaker reflects her generation’s preferences, including its hyperbolic discounting. For a binary action game, we compare the MPE set to a “restricted commitment†benchmark. We compare the associated “constant equivalent discount rates†and the willingness to pay to control climate change with assumptions and recommendations in the Stern Review on Climate Change. “. . .My picture of the world is drawn in perspective. . . I apply my perspective not merely to space but also to time†—Ramsey.

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Paper provided by University of California at Berkeley, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Policy in its series CUDARE Working Paper Series with number 1062.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Handle: RePEc:are:cudare:1062
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Order Information: Postal: University of California, Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics Library, 248 Giannini Hall #3310, Berkeley CA 94720-3310
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  1. Karp, Larry S., 2009. "Sacrifice, discounting and climate policy : five questions," CUDARE Working Paper Series 1086, University of California at Berkeley, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Policy.
  2. Clarke, Harry R. & Reed, William J., 1994. "Consumption/pollution tradeoffs in an environment vulnerable to pollution-related catastrophic collapse," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 18(5), pages 991-1010, September.
  3. Per Krusell & Anthony A Smith, Jr., 2001. "Consumption Savings Decisions with Quasi-Geometric Discounting," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 625018000000000251, www.najecon.org.
  4. Karp, Larry, 2009. "Sacrifice, discounting and climate policy: five questions," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt1zq431s8, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
  5. Collins, Julie, 2007. "Climate Change and Emissions Trading (Power Point)," 2007 Seminar, August 24, 2007, Wellington, New Zealand 97617, New Zealand Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
  6. Tsur, Yacov & Zemel, Amos, 1996. "Accounting for global warming risks: Resource management under event uncertainty," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 20(6-7), pages 1289-1305.
  7. Karp, Larry, 2004. "Non-constant discounting in continuous time," CUDARE Working Paper Series 0969, University of California at Berkeley, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Policy.
  8. Kiminori Matsuyama, 1990. "Increasing Returns, Industrialization and Indeterminacy of Equilibrium," Discussion Papers 878, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  9. Karp, Larry, 2004. "Global Warming and Hyperbolic Discounting," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt5zh730nc, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
  10. Fujii, Tomoki & Karp, Larry, 2008. "Numerical analysis of non-constant pure rate of time preference: A model of climate policy," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 83-101, July.
  11. Heal, G., 1998. "Valuing the Future: Economic Theory and Sustainability," Papers 98-10, Columbia - Graduate School of Business.
  12. Sumaila, Ussif R. & Walters, Carl, 2005. "Intergenerational discounting: a new intuitive approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 135-142, January.
  13. E. S. Phelps & R. A. Pollak, 1968. "On Second-Best National Saving and Game-Equilibrium Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(2), pages 185-199.
  14. Skiba, A K, 1978. "Optimal Growth with a Convex-Concave Production Function," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(3), pages 527-539, May.
  15. Heal, Geoffrey, 2005. "Intertemporal Welfare Economics and the Environment," Handbook of Environmental Economics, in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 21, pages 1105-1145 Elsevier.
  16. Robert S. Pindyck, 2010. "Fat Tails, Thin Tails, and Climate Change Policy," Working Papers 1012, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
  17. Paul Krugman, 1991. "History versus Expectations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 651-667.
  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. Cropper, Maureen L & Aydede, Sema K & Portney, Paul R, 1994. "Preferences for Life Saving Programs: How the Public Discounts Time and Age," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 243-265, May.
  20. Robert J. Barro, 1999. "Ramsey Meets Laibson in the Neoclassical Growth Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1125-1152.
  21. 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.
  22. Schelling Thomas C., 2007. "Climate Change: The Uncertainties, the Certainties and What They Imply About Action," The Economists' Voice, De Gruyter, vol. 4(3), pages 1-5, July.
  23. Michael D. Mastrandrea & Stephen H. Schneider, 2001. "Integrated assessment of abrupt climatic changes," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(4), pages 433-449, December.
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