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Economic Analysis and the Formulation of U.S. Climate Policy


  • Toman, Michael


Economic analysts within government agencies as well as outside government has played a noticeable and increasing role in formulating U.S. climate policy. However, that role has remained limited; in particular, economic analysis has largely been ignored and occasionally even derided in the context of setting targets for GHG control. This paper explores this uneasy relationship between analysis and policy during several U.S. administrations. Some of these problems stem from the incompleteness of the economic analyses themselves, and economic analysts sometimes have not been the most effective advocates for their own findings. However, I think one of the biggest obstacles to more effective use of economic analysis in climate policymaking has been a basic lack of desire among many policymakers for the fruits of the analyses. This reluctance has been especially marked when the economic analysis clashes with strongly held preconceptions – from either side – about what climate policy ought to be.

Suggested Citation

  • Toman, Michael, 2003. "Economic Analysis and the Formulation of U.S. Climate Policy," Discussion Papers dp-02-59, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-02-59

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kenneth Gillingham & Richard G. Newell & Karen Palmer, 2009. "Energy Efficiency Economics and Policy," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 1(1), pages 597-620, September.
    2. 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.
    3. Barrett, Scott, 1994. "Self-Enforcing International Environmental Agreements," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(0), pages 878-894, Supplemen.
    4. Howarth, Richard B, 1998. " An Overlapping Generations Model of Climate-Economy Interactions," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 100(3), pages 575-591, September.
    5. Robert Mendelsohn, 1999. "The Greening of Global Warming," Books, American Enterprise Institute, number 53354.
    6. Toman, Michael & Shogren, Jason, 2000. "Climate Change Policy," Discussion Papers dp-00-22, Resources For the Future.
    7. Fankhauser, Samuel & Tol, Richard S.J. & Pearce, David W., 1998. "Extensions and alternatives to climate change impact valuation: on the critique of IPCC Working Group III's impact estimates," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(01), pages 59-81, February.
    8. Stavins, Robert & Hahn, Robert, 1999. "What Has Kyoto Wrought? The Real Architecture of International Tradable Permit Markets," Discussion Papers dp-99-30, Resources For the Future.
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    Cited by:

    1. Geoffrey Heal & Bengt Kriström, 2002. "Uncertainty and Climate Change," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 22(1), pages 3-39, June.
    2. Frank Jotzo & John C. V. Pezzey, 2005. "Optimal intensity targets for emissions trading under uncertainty (now replaced by EEN0605)," Economics and Environment Network Working Papers 0504, Australian National University, Economics and Environment Network.
    3. Frank Jotzo & John C. V. Pezzey, 2006. "Optimal Intensity Targets for Greenhouse Emissions Trading Under Uncertainty," Economics and Environment Network Working Papers 0605, Australian National University, Economics and Environment Network.
    4. John C. V. Pezzey & Frank Jotzo, 2006. "Mechanisms for Abating Global Emissions Under Uncertainty," Economics and Environment Network Working Papers 0604, Australian National University, Economics and Environment Network.

    More about this item


    climate change; Kyoto Protocol; Council of Economic Advisers;

    JEL classification:

    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q4 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy

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