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Policy-Instrument Choice and Benefit Estimates for Climate-Change Policy in the United States

Author

Listed:
  • Matthew J. Kotchen
  • Kevin J. Boyle
  • Anthony A. Leiserowitz

Abstract

This paper provides the first willingness-to-pay (WTP) estimates in support of a national climate-change policy that are comparable with the costs of actual legislative efforts in the U.S. Congress. Based on a survey of 2,034 American adults, we find that households are, on average, willing to pay between $79 and $89 per year in support of reducing domestic greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions 17 percent by 2020. Even very conservative estimates yield an average WTP at or above $60 per year. Taking advantage of randomized treatments within the survey valuation question, we find that mean WTP does not vary substantially among the policy instruments of a cap-and-trade program, a carbon tax, or a GHG regulation. But there are differences in the sociodemographic characteristics of those willing to pay across policy instruments. Greater education always increases WTP. Older individuals have a lower WTP for a carbon tax and a GHG regulation, while greater household income increases WTP for these same two policy instruments. Republicans, along with those indicating no political party affiliation, have a significantly lower WTP regardless of the policy instrument. But many of these differences are no longer evident after controlling for respondent opinions about whether global warming is actually happening.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew J. Kotchen & Kevin J. Boyle & Anthony A. Leiserowitz, 2011. "Policy-Instrument Choice and Benefit Estimates for Climate-Change Policy in the United States," NBER Working Papers 17539, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17539
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Richard T. Carson & W. Michael Hanemann & Raymond J. Kopp & Jon A. Krosnick & Robert Cameron Mitchell & Stanley Presser, 1998. "Referendum Design And Contingent Valuation: The Noaa Panel'S No-Vote Recommendation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(3), pages 484-487, August.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q4 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics

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