IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/hhs/gunwpe/0305.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Behavioural Economics of Climate Change

Author

Listed:
  • Brekke, Kjell Arne

    () (Department of Economics, University of Oslo)

  • Johansson-Stenman, Olof

    () (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

Abstract

This paper attempts to bring some central insights from behavioural economics into the economics of climate change. In particular, it discusses (i) implications of prospect theory, the equity premium puzzle and time inconsistent preferences in the choice of discount rate used in climate change cost assessments, and (ii) the implications of various kinds of social preferences for the outcome of climate negotiations. Several reasons are presented for why it appears advisable to choose a substantially lower social discount rate than the average return on investments. It also seems likely that taking social preferences into account increases the possibilities of obtaining international agreements, compared to the standard model. However, there are also effects going in the opposite direction, and the importance of sanctions is emphasised.

Suggested Citation

  • Brekke, Kjell Arne & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2008. "The Behavioural Economics of Climate Change," Working Papers in Economics 305, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0305
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/10137
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gneezy, Uri & Rustichini, Aldo, 2000. "A Fine is a Price," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 1-17, January.
    2. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
    3. Asheim, Geir B. & Froyn, Camilla Bretteville & Hovi, Jon & Menz, Fredric C., 2006. "Regional versus global cooperation for climate control," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 93-109, January.
    4. Tyran, Jean-Robert & Sausgruber, Rupert, 2006. "A little fairness may induce a lot of redistribution in democracy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 469-485, February.
    5. Lange, Andreas & Vogt, Carsten, 2003. "Cooperation in international environmental negotiations due to a preference for equity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 2049-2067, September.
    6. Geoffrey Brennan & Alan Hamlin, 1998. "Expressive voting and electoral equilibrium," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 95(1), pages 149-175, April.
    7. Falk, Armin & Fehr, Ernst & Fischbacher, Urs, 2008. "Testing theories of fairness--Intentions matter," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 287-303, January.
    8. Uri Gneezy & Jan Potters, 1997. "An Experiment on Risk Taking and Evaluation Periods," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 631-645.
    9. Falk, Armin & Fischbacher, Urs, 2006. "A theory of reciprocity," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 293-315, February.
    10. Russell S. Sobel & Gary A. Wagner, 2004. "Expressive Voting and Government Redistribution: Testing Tullock's `Charity of the Uncharitable'," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 119(1_2), pages 143-159, April.
    11. Mark Stephan, 2002. "Environmental Information Disclosure Programs: They Work, but Why?," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 83(1), pages 190-205.
    12. Frey, Bruno S & Oberholzer-Gee, Felix, 1997. "The Cost of Price Incentives: An Empirical Analysis of Motivation Crowding-Out," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 746-755, September.
    13. Wolfgang Luhan & Martin Kocher & Matthias Sutter, 2009. "Group polarization in the team dictator game reconsidered," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 12(1), pages 26-41, March.
    14. Barrett, Scott, 2005. "The theory of international environmental agreements," Handbook of Environmental Economics,in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 28, pages 1457-1516 Elsevier.
    15. Bruno S. Frey & Stephan Meier, 2004. "Social Comparisons and Pro-social Behavior: Testing "Conditional Cooperation" in a Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1717-1722, December.
    16. Karp, Larry, 2005. "Global warming and hyperbolic discounting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 261-282, February.
    17. Kverndokk, S., 1992. "Tradeable CO2 Emission Permits: Initial Distribution as a Justice Problem," Memorandum 23/1992, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    18. Shlomo Benartzi & Richard H. Thaler, 1995. "Myopic Loss Aversion and the Equity Premium Puzzle," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 73-92.
    19. Weil, Philippe, 1989. "The equity premium puzzle and the risk-free rate puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 401-421, November.
    20. 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.
    21. Thaler, Richard H & Shefrin, H M, 1981. "An Economic Theory of Self-Control," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(2), pages 392-406, April.
    22. Robert J. Barro, 2006. "Rare Disasters and Asset Markets in the Twentieth Century," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(3), pages 823-866.
    23. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    24. Matthew Rabin, 2000. "Risk Aversion and Expected-Utility Theory: A Calibration Theorem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1281-1292, September.
    25. Azar, Christian & Sterner, Thomas, 1996. "Discounting and distributional considerations in the context of global warming," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 169-184, November.
    26. William F. Sharpe, 1964. "Capital Asset Prices: A Theory Of Market Equilibrium Under Conditions Of Risk," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 19(3), pages 425-442, September.
    27. Josep Pijoan-Mas, 2007. "Pricing Risk in Economies with Heterogeneous Agents and Incomplete Markets," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(5), pages 987-1015, September.
    28. Richard H. Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein, 2003. "Libertarian Paternalism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 175-179, May.
    29. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
    30. Brekke, Kjell Arne & Kverndokk, Snorre & Nyborg, Karine, 2003. "An economic model of moral motivation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 1967-1983, September.
    31. Francisco Gomes & Alexander Michaelides, 2008. "Asset Pricing with Limited Risk Sharing and Heterogeneous Agents," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 21(1), pages 415-448, January.
    32. Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2004. "Voting when money and morals conflict: an experimental test of expressive voting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1645-1664, July.
    33. Shiv, Baba & Fedorikhin, Alexander, 1999. " Heart and Mind in Conflict: The Interplay of Affect and Cognition in Consumer Decision Making," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(3), pages 278-292, December.
    34. Bong-Gyu Jang & Hyeng Keun Koo & Hong Liu & Mark Loewenstein, 2007. "Liquidity Premia and Transaction Costs," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 62(5), pages 2329-2366, October.
    35. Nava Ashraf & Colin F. Camerer & George Loewenstein, 2005. "Adam Smith, Behavioral Economist," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 131-145, Summer.
    36. Jerry Evensky, 2005. "Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments: On Morals and Why They Matter to a Liberal Society of Free People and Free Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 109-130, Summer.
    37. Linda Babcock & Xianghong Wang & George Loewenstein, 1996. "Choosing the Wrong Pond: Social Comparisons in Negotiations That Reflect a Self-Serving Bias," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(1), pages 1-19.
    38. Jonathan Gruber & Botond Köszegi, 2001. "Is Addiction "Rational"? Theory and Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1261-1303.
    39. Daniel Kahneman & Richard H. Thaler, 2006. "Anomalies: Utility Maximization and Experienced Utility," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 221-234, Winter.
    40. Uri Gneezy & Arie Kapteyn & Jan Potters, 2003. "Evaluation Periods and Asset Prices in a Market Experiment," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 58(2), pages 821-838, April.
    41. Rabin, Matthew, 1993. "Incorporating Fairness into Game Theory and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1281-1302, December.
    42. Narayana R. Kocherlakota, 1996. "The Equity Premium: It's Still a Puzzle," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 42-71, March.
    43. Matthew Rabin & Joel L. Schrag, 1999. "First Impressions Matter: A Model of Confirmatory Bias," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(1), pages 37-82.
    44. Matthew Rabin & Richard H. Thaler, 2001. "Anomalies: Risk Aversion," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 219-232, Winter.
    45. Richard B. Howarth, 2003. "Discounting and Uncertainty in Climate Change Policy Analysis," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 79(3), pages 369-381.
    46. Aronsson, Thomas & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2008. "When the Joneses' consumption hurts: Optimal public good provision and nonlinear income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 986-997, June.
    47. Chris Starmer, 2000. "Developments in Non-expected Utility Theory: The Hunt for a Descriptive Theory of Choice under Risk," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 332-382, June.
    48. Mueller,Dennis C., 2003. "Public Choice III," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521894753, May.
    49. Rachel Croson & Jen Shang, 2006. "Field experiments in charitable contribution: The impact of social influence on the voluntary provision of public goods," Natural Field Experiments 00323, The Field Experiments Website.
    50. Annette Vissing-Jorgensen, 2002. "Limited Asset Market Participation and the Elasticity of Intertemporal Substitution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 825-853, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Behavioural economics; prospect theory; equity premium puzzle; social preferences; climate negotiations.;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0305. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Marie Andersson). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/naiguse.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.