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How Can Policy Encourage Economically Sensible Climate Adaptation?

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  • V. Kerry Smith

Abstract

This paper considers the role of incentive based climate adaptation policies. It uses the early literature on pricing and capacity choices under demand uncertainty to describe how revised price structures for the substitutes for climate services can be treated as anticipatory adaptation. In many situations the policies determining the prices of these services make them difficult to adjust. Thus, excess demand will not be managed through price adjustment. This situation is important because it implies that the rationing rules determining who is served influence both capacity planning and pricing decisions. The lesson drawn from these models is that reform of pricing policy for climate substitutes offers a ready basis for incentive based adaptation policy. The last part of the paper offers some empirical evidence on how the price elasticity of the residential demand for water changes with variations in seasonal precipitation. The findings suggest marked differences between normal and dry conditions for the Phoenix metropolitan area. These results reinforce the need to co-ordinate changes in pricing policy with any capacity planning developed for water supplies as part of anticipatory climate adaptation. Similar relationships may well apply for other substitutes for climatic services.

Suggested Citation

  • V. Kerry Smith, 2010. "How Can Policy Encourage Economically Sensible Climate Adaptation?," NBER Working Papers 16100, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16100
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Daron Acemoglu & Philippe Aghion & Leonardo Bursztyn & David Hemous, 2012. "The Environment and Directed Technical Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 131-166, February.
    2. Howe Charles W. & Smith Mark Griffin & Bennett Lynne & Brendecke Charles M. & Flack J. Ernest & Hamm Robert M. & Mann Roger & Rozaklis Lee & Wunderlich Karl, 1994. "The Value of Water Supply Reliability in Urban Water Systems," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 19-30, January.
    3. Carlton, Dennis W, 1977. "Peak Load Pricing with Stochastic Demand," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(5), pages 1006-1010, December.
    4. Olmstead, Sheila M. & Michael Hanemann, W. & Stavins, Robert N., 2007. "Water demand under alternative price structures," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 181-198, September.
    5. Fankhauser, Samuel & Smith, Joel B. & Tol, Richard S. J., 1999. "Weathering climate change: some simple rules to guide adaptation decisions," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 67-78, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Buscemi, Antonino & Yallwe, Alem Hagos, 2011. "It is time to re-think on environment, energy and economics (E3)," MPRA Paper 30998, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q4 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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