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Schelling's Conjecture on Climate and Development: A Test

  • Anthoff, David
  • Tol, Richard S. J.

We use the integrated assessment model FUND to compute the income elasticities of climate change impacts for different world regions over time. We find limited support for Schelling's Conjecture that development might be the best defense against climate change impacts, and for the idea that the impacts from climate change might be akin to a "luxury good". For very poor regions, an increase in income in the short run is an effective tool to reduce impacts from climate change by making those societies less vulnerable, in particular to infectious diseases. While net climate impacts appear to be akin to a luxury good for some countries at specific times, that effect disappears in the long run as impacts from agriculture make up a large share of total impacts.

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Paper provided by Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) in its series Papers with number WP390.

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Date of creation: Jun 2011
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Handle: RePEc:esr:wpaper:wp390
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  1. Richard S.J. Tol & Kristie L. Ebi & Gary W. Yohe, 2006. "Infectious Disease, Development, And Climate Change: A Scenario Analysis," Working Papers FNU-109, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Jun 2006.
  2. Martin L. Weitzman, 2009. "On Modeling and Interpreting the Economics of Catastrophic Climate Change," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 1-19, February.
  3. Tol, Richard S. J., 2001. "Equitable cost-benefit analysis of climate change policies," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 71-85, January.
  4. Richard S.J. Tol, 2002. "Emission Abatement Versus Development As Strategies To Reduce Vulnerability To Climate Change: An Application Of Fund," Working Papers FNU-12, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Apr 2002.
  5. Schelling, Thomas C, 1992. "Some Economics of Global Warming," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 1-14, March.
  6. J.K. Horowitz, 2002. "Preferences in the Future," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 21(3), pages 241-258, March.
  7. P. Michael Link & Richard S.J. Tol, 2004. "Possible Economic Impacts of a Shutdown of the Thermohaline Circulation: an Application of FUND," Working Papers FNU-42, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Apr 2004.
  8. Schelling, Thomas C, 1995. "Intergenerational discounting," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(4-5), pages 395-401.
  9. Sterner, Thomas & Persson, U. Martin, 2007. "An Even Sterner Review: Introducing Relative Prices into the Discounting Debate," Discussion Papers dp-07-37, Resources For the Future.
  10. Yang, Zili, 2003. "Dual-rate discounting in dynamic economic-environmental modeling," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 941-957, September.
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