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Optimal CO2 Abatement in the Presence of Induced Technological Change

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  • Lawrence H. Goulder
  • Koshy Mathai

Abstract

This paper explores the significance of policy-induced technological change for the design of carbon-abatement policies. We derive analytical expressions characterizing optimal CO2 abatement and carbon tax profiles under different specifications for the channels through which technological progress occurs. We consider both R&D-based and learning-by-doing-based knowledge accumulation, and examine each specification under both a cost-effectiveness and a benefit-cost policy criterion. We show analytically that the presence of induced technological change (ITC) implies a lower time profile of optimal carbon taxes. The impact of ITC on the optimal abatement path varies. When knowledge is gained through R&D investments, the presence of ITC justifies shifting some abatement from the present to the future. However, when knowledge is generated through learning-by-doing, the impact on the timing of abatement is analytically ambiguous. Illustrative numerical simulations indicate that the impact of ITC upon overall costs and optimal carbon taxes can be quite large in a cost-effectiveness setting but typically is much smaller under a benefit-cost policy criterion. The impact of ITC on the timing of abatement is very weak, and the effect (applicable in the benefit-cost case) on total abatement over time is generally small as well, especially when knowledge is accumulated via R&D.

Suggested Citation

  • Lawrence H. Goulder & Koshy Mathai, 1998. "Optimal CO2 Abatement in the Presence of Induced Technological Change," NBER Working Papers 6494, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6494
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    Cited by:

    1. Paolo Buonanno & Carlo Carraro & Efrem Castelnuovo & Marzio Galeotti, 2001. "Emission Trading Restrictions with Endogenous Technological Change," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 379-395, July.
    2. Jakeman, Guy & Hanslow, Kevin & Hinchy, Mike & Fisher, Brian S. & Woffenden, Kate, 2004. "Induced innovations and climate change policy," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 937-960, November.
    3. Goulder, Lawrence H. & Schneider, Stephen H., 1999. "Induced technological change and the attractiveness of CO2 abatement policies," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3-4), pages 211-253, August.
    4. Richard S.J. Tol & Wietze Lise & Benoit Morel & Bob C.C. van der Zwaan, 2001. "Technology Development And Diffusion And Incentives To Abate Greenhouse Gas Emissions," Working Papers FNU-6, Research unit Sustainability and Global Change, Hamburg University, revised Feb 2001.
    5. Goulder, Lawrence H. & Mathai, Koshy, 2000. "Optimal CO2 Abatement in the Presence of Induced Technological Change," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 1-38, January.
    6. Toman, Michael & Morgenstern, Richard & Anderson, John, 1998. "The Economics of "When" Flexibility in the Design of Greenhouse Gas Abatement Policies," Discussion Papers dp-99-38-rev, Resources For the Future.
    7. Laurie Michaelis, 1998. "Economic and Technological Development in Climate Scenarios," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 231-261, December.
    8. Gerlagh, Reyer & van der Zwaan, Bob, 2003. "Gross world product and consumption in a global warming model with endogenous technological change," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 35-57, February.
    9. Henri de Groot, 2001. "On the optimal timing of reductions of CO2 emissions; an economists' perspective on the debate on "when flexibility"," CPB Discussion Paper 1.rdf, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    10. Carraro, Carlo & Gerlagh, Reyer & Zwaan, Bob van der, 2003. "Endogenous technical change in environmental macroeconomics," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 1-10, February.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • D99 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Other

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