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Pigou Pushes Preferences: Decarbonisation and Endogenous Values

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  • Linus Mattauch
  • Cameron Hepburn
  • Nicholas Stern

Abstract

Avoiding unmanageable climate change implies that global greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced rapidly. A significant body of literature shows that policy instruments such as carbon prices can make an important contribution to this goal. In contrast, changes in preferences or values are rarely considered, even though other major socioeconomic transitions - such as those from reducing smoking and drink-driving - have succeeded partly because values have changed. This article examines the impact of climate policy-induced changes in consumers’ values. We demonstrate that when changes in values through policies occur, and are not accounted for, such policies are inefficient. First, target-achieving carbon taxes must be adjusted if they crowd-in or -out social preferences. Second, when the urban built environment changes mobility preferences, low-carbon infrastructure investments are more valuable. Third, policy-induced changes in preferences for active travel and low-meat diets could increase the net benefits of the transition to zero emissions, in turn affecting optimal policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Linus Mattauch & Cameron Hepburn & Nicholas Stern, 2018. "Pigou Pushes Preferences: Decarbonisation and Endogenous Values," CESifo Working Paper Series 7404, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_7404
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    Cited by:

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    2. Mattauch, Linus & van den Bijgaart, Inge & Klenert, David & Sulikova, Simona, 2020. "Optimal fuel taxation with suboptimal health choices," INET Oxford Working Papers 2020-22, Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford.
    3. Funke, Franziska & Mattauch, Linus & van den Bijgaart, Inge & Godfray, Charles & Hepburn, Cameron & Klenert, David & Springmann, Marco & Treich, Nicholas, 2021. "Is Meat Too Cheap? Towards Optimal Meat Taxation," INET Oxford Working Papers 2021-08, Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    climate change; carbon pricing; endogenous preferences; crowding-in; transport infrastructure; health co-benefit;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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