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Robustness of a Simple Rule for the Social Cost of Carbon

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  • Armon Rezai
  • Frederick Van der Ploeg

Abstract

The optimal social cost of carbon is in general equilibrium proportional to GDP if utility is logarithmic, production is Cobb-Douglas, depreciation is 100% every period, climate damages as fraction of production decline exponentially with the stock of atmospheric carbon, and fossil fuel extraction does not require capital. The time profile and size of the optimal carbon tax corresponding to this simple rule are not robust to more convex climate damages, smaller elasticities of factor substitution and non-unitary coefficients of relative intergenerational inequality aversion. The optimal timing of energy transitions and the amount of fossil fuel reserves to be locked up in the earth are also not accurately predicted by this framework. Still, in terms of welfare and global warming the simple rule for the optimal social cost of carbon manages to get quite close to the first best.

Suggested Citation

  • Armon Rezai & Frederick Van der Ploeg, 2014. "Robustness of a Simple Rule for the Social Cost of Carbon," CESifo Working Paper Series 4703, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4703
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ackerman, Frank & Stanton, Elizabeth A., 2012. "Climate risks and carbon prices: Revising the social cost of carbon," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 6, pages 1-25.
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    5. Armon Rezai & Frederick Van Der Ploeg, 2017. "Abandoning Fossil Fuel: How Fast and How Much," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 85(S2), pages 16-44, December.
    6. Armon Rezai, 2011. "The Opportunity Cost of Climate Policy: A Question of Reference," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 113(4), pages 885-903, December.
    7. Brock, William A. & Mirman, Leonard J., 1972. "Optimal economic growth and uncertainty: The discounted case," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 479-513, June.
    8. Mikhail Golosov & John Hassler & Per Krusell & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2014. "Optimal Taxes on Fossil Fuel in General Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82(1), pages 41-88, January.
    9. Iverson, Terrence, 2012. "Optimal Carbon Taxes with Non-Constant Time Preference," MPRA Paper 43264, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Richard S J Tol, 2018. "The Economic Impacts of Climate Change," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 12(1), pages 4-25.
    2. Anna Creti & Alena Kotelnikova & Guy Meunier & Jean-Pierre Ponssard, 2018. "Defining the Abatement Cost in Presence of Learning-by-Doing: Application to the Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 71(3), pages 777-800, November.
    3. Gerlagh, Reyer & Jaimes, Richard & Motavasseli, Ali, 2017. "Global Demographic Change and Climate Policies," Discussion Paper 2017-035, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    4. 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.
    5. Rick van der Ploeg & Armon Rezai, 2020. "Optimal Carbon Pricing in General Equilibrium: Temperature Caps and Stranded Assets in an Extended Annual DSGE Model," CESifo Working Paper Series 8782, CESifo.
    6. Armon Rezai & Frederick Van der Ploeg, 2016. "Intergenerational Inequality Aversion, Growth, and the Role of Damages: Occam's Rule for the Global Carbon Tax," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(2), pages 493-522.
    7. Schultes, Anselm & Piontek, Franziska & Soergel, Bjoern & Rogelj, Joeri & Baumstark, Lavinia & Kriegler, Elmar & Edenhofer, Ottmar & Luderer, Gunnar, 2020. "Economic damages from on-going climate change imply deeper near-term emission cuts," MPRA Paper 103655, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Terrence Iverson & Scott Denning & Sammy Zahran, 2015. "When the long run matters," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 129(1), pages 57-72, March.
    9. Richard S. J. Tol, 2021. "Estimates of the social cost of carbon have not changed over time," Papers 2105.03656, arXiv.org.
    10. Gustav Engström & Johan Gars, 2016. "Climatic Tipping Points and Optimal Fossil-Fuel Use," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 65(3), pages 541-571, November.
    11. Hassler, J. & Krusell, P. & Smith, A.A., 2016. "Environmental Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 1893-2008, Elsevier.
    12. Rick Van der Ploeg & Armon Rezai, 2015. "Intergenerational Inequality Aversion, Growth and the Role of Damages: Occam's rule for the global tax," Economics Series Working Papers OxCarre Research Paper 15, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    social cost of carbon; Ramsey growth; climate damages; energy transitions; stranded fossil; fuel assets; robustness;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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