Additive Damages, Fat-Tailed Climate Dynamics, and Uncertain Discounting
This paper in applied theory argues that there is a loose chain of reasoning connecting the following three basic links in the economics of climate change: 1) additive disutility damages may be appropriate for analyzing some impacts of global warming; 2) an uncertain feedback-forcing coefficient, which might be near one with infinitesimal probability, can cause the distribution of the future time trajectory of global temperatures to have fat tails and a high variance; 3) when high-variance additive damages are discounted at an uncertain rate of pure time preference, which might be near zero with infinitesimal probability, it can make expected present discounted disutility very large. Some possible implications for welfare analysis and climate-change policy are briefly noted.
|Date of creation:||2009|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||Published in Economics|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Littauer Center, Cambridge, MA 02138|
Web page: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/
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- Thomas Sterner & U. Martin Persson, 2008.
"An Even Sterner Review: Introducing Relative Prices into the Discounting Debate,"
Review of Environmental Economics and Policy,
Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 2(1), pages 61-76, Winter.
- 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.
- Weitzman, Martin L., 1998. "Why the Far-Distant Future Should Be Discounted at Its Lowest Possible Rate," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 201-208, November.
- Partha Dasgupta, 2007. "Commentary: The Stern Review's Economics of Climate Change," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 199(1), pages 4-7, January.
- Weitzman, Martin L., 2009.
"On Modeling and Interpreting the Economics of Catastrophic Climate Change,"
3693423, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- 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.
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