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Inequality and the Social Cost of Carbon

Author

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  • David Anthoff
  • Johannes Emmerling

Abstract

This paper presents a novel way to disentangle inequality aversion over time from inequality aversion between regions in the computation of the Social Cost of Carbon. Our approach nests a standard efficiency based Social Cost of Carbon estimate and an equity weighted Social Cost of Carbon estimate as special cases. We also present a methodology to incorporate more fine grained regional resolutions of income and damage distributions than typically found in integrated assessment models. Finally, we present quantitative estimates of the Social Cost of Carbon that use our disentangling of different types of inequality aversion. We use two integrated assessment models (FUND and RICE) for our numerical exercise to get more robust findings. Our results suggest that inequality considerations lead to a higher (lower) SCC values in high (low) income regions relative to an efficiency based approach, but that the effect is less strong than found in previous studies that use equity weighting. Our central estimate is that the Social Cost of Carbon increases roughly by a factor of 2.5 from a US perspective when our disentangled equity weighting approach is used.

Suggested Citation

  • David Anthoff & Johannes Emmerling, 2016. "Inequality and the Social Cost of Carbon," CESifo Working Paper Series 5989, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_5989
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Shorrocks, A F, 1980. "The Class of Additively Decomposable Inequality Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(3), pages 613-625, April.
    2. 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.
    3. Kverndokk, Snorre & Rose, Adam, 2008. "Equity and Justice in Global Warming Policy," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 2(2), pages 135-176, October.
    4. Waldhoff, Stephanie & Anthoff, David & Rose, Steven K. & Tol, Richard S. J., 2014. "The marginal damage costs of different greenhouse gases: An application of FUND," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 8, pages 1-33.
    5. Yohe, Gary W. & Tol, Richard S. J. & Anthoff, David, 2009. "Discounting for Climate Change," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 3, pages 1-22.
    6. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1989. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: A Theoretical Framework," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 937-969, July.
    7. Bourguignon, Francois & Levin, Victoria & Rosenblatt, David, 2006. "Global redistribution of income," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3961, The World Bank.
    8. Kreps, David M & Porteus, Evan L, 1978. "Temporal Resolution of Uncertainty and Dynamic Choice Theory," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 185-200, January.
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    12. Samuel Fankhauser & Richard Tol & DAVID Pearce, 1997. "The Aggregation of Climate Change Damages: a Welfare Theoretic Approach," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 10(3), pages 249-266, October.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    social cost of carbon; inequality; climate change; discounting; equity weighting; integrated assessment model;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H43 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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