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Does the social Cost of Carbon Matter?: An Assessment of U.S. Policy

  • Robert w. Hahn
  • Robert A. Ritz
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    we evaluate a recent u.s. initiative to include the social cost of carbon (sCc) in regulatory decisions. To our knowledge, this paper provides the first systematic test of the extent to which applying the SCC has affected national policy. we examine all economically significant federal regulations since 2008, and obtain a surprising result: Putting a value on changes in carbon dioxide emissions does not generally affect the ranking of the preferred policy compared with the status quo. overall, we find little evidence that use of the SCC has affected u.s. policy choices to date. we offer an explanation related to the political economy of regulation.

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    File URL: http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/research/repec/cam/pdf/cwpe1346.pdf
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    Paper provided by Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge in its series Cambridge Working Papers in Economics with number 1346.

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    Date of creation: 27 Nov 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:1346
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/index.htm

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    1. Pizer, William A., 2002. "Combining price and quantity controls to mitigate global climate change," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(3), pages 409-434, September.
    2. Marten, Alex L. & Newbold, Stephen C., 2012. "Estimating the social cost of non-CO2 GHG emissions: Methane and nitrous oxide," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 957-972.
    3. Lucas W. Davis & Erich Muehlegger, 2010. "Do Americans consume too little natural gas? An empirical test of marginal cost pricing," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 41(4), pages 791-810.
    4. Weitzman, Martin L., 1998. "Why the Far-Distant Future Should Be Discounted at Its Lowest Possible Rate," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 201-208, November.
    5. McCubbins, Mathew D & Noll, Roger G & Weingast, Barry R, 1987. "Administrative Procedures as Instruments of Political Control," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 243-77, Fall.
    6. Buchanan, James M, 1969. "External Diseconomies, Corrective Taxes, and Market Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(1), pages 174-77, March.
    7. Anthoff, David & Rose, Steven K. & Tol, Richard S. J. & Waldhoff, Stephanie, 2011. "Regional and Sectoral Estimates of the Social Cost of Carbon: An Application of FUND," Papers WP375, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    8. Robert A. Ritz, 2009. "Carbon leakage under incomplete environmental regulation: An industry-level approach," Economics Series Working Papers 461, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    9. Barnett, A H, 1980. "The Pigouvian Tax Rule under Monopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 1037-41, December.
    10. Richard S. J. Tol, 2009. "The Economic Effects of Climate Change," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(2), pages 29-51, Spring.
    11. Robert W. Hahn & Paul C. Tetlock, 2008. "Has Economic Analysis Improved Regulatory Decisions?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 67-84, Winter.
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