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A dynamic analysis of human welfare in a warming planet

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Abstract

Climate science indicates that climate stabilization requires low GHG emissions. Is this consistent with nondecreasing human welfare? Our welfare or utility index emphasizes education, knowledge, and the environment. We construct and calibrate a multigenerational model with intertemporal links provided by education, physical capital, knowledge and the environment. We reject discounted utilitarianism and adopt, first, the Pure Sustainability Optimization (or Intergenerational Maximin) criterion, and, second, the Sustainable Growth Optimization criterion, that maximizes the utility of the first generation subject to a given future rate of growth. We apply these criteria to our calibrated model via a novel algorithm inspired by the turnpike property. The computed paths yield levels of utility higher than the level at reference year 2000 for all generations. They require the doubling of the fraction of labor resources devoted to the creation of knowledge relative to the reference level, whereas the fractions of labor allocated to consumption and leisure are similar to the reference ones. On the other hand, higher growth rates require substantial increases in the fraction of labor devoted to education, together with moderate increases in the fractions of labor devoted to knowledge and the investment in physical capital.

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  • Humberto Llavador & John E. Roemer & Joaquim Silvestre, 2008. "A dynamic analysis of human welfare in a warming planet," Economics Working Papers 1110, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Feb 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1110
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    Cited by:

    1. Michele Lombardi & Kaname Miyagishima & Roberto Veneziani, 2016. "Liberal Egalitarianism and the Harm Principle," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(597), pages 2173-2196, November.
    2. Quaas, Martin F. & Bröcker, Johannes, 2016. "Substitutability and the social cost of carbon in a solvable growth model with irreversible climate change," Economics Working Papers 2016-09, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
    3. Gerlagh, Reyer, 2017. "Generous Sustainability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 94-100.
    4. Humberto Llavador & John E. Roemer & Joaquim Silvestre, 2013. "Should we sustain? And if so, sustain what? Consumption or the quality of life?," Chapters,in: Handbook on Energy and Climate Change, chapter 30, pages 639-665 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. W. Botzen & Jeroen Bergh, 2014. "Specifications of Social Welfare in Economic Studies of Climate Policy: Overview of Criteria and Related Policy Insights," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 58(1), pages 1-33, May.
    6. Cairns, Robert D. & Martinet, Vincent, 2014. "An environmental-economic measure of sustainable development," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 4-17.
    7. John Roemer, 2013. "Once More on Intergenerational Discounting in Climate-Change Analysis: Reply to Partha Dasgupta," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 56(1), pages 141-148, September.
    8. Rozenberg, Julie & Vogt-Schilb, Adrien & Hallegatte, Stephane, 2013. "How capital-based instruments facilitate the transition toward a low-carbon economy : a tradeoff between optimality and acceptability," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6609, The World Bank.
    9. Humberto Llavador & John E. Roemer & Joaquim Silvestre, 2010. "North-South convergence and the allocation of CO2 emissions," Economics Working Papers 1234, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    10. José-Manuel Giménez-Gómez & Jordi Teixidó-Figueras & Cori Vilella, 2016. "The global carbon budget: a conflicting claims problem," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 136(3), pages 693-703, June.
    11. Geir B. Asheim, 2017. "Sustainable growth," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 49(3), pages 825-848, December.
    12. John Roemer, 2011. "The Ethics of Intertemporal Distribution in a Warming Planet," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 48(3), pages 363-390, March.
    13. Andreas Peichl & Nico Pestel, 2013. "Multidimensional Well‐Being at the Top: Evidence for Germany," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 34, pages 355-371, September.
    14. Llavador, Humberto & Roemer, John E. & Silvestre, Joaquim, 2010. "Intergenerational justice when future worlds are uncertain," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(5), pages 728-761, September.
    15. repec:kap:enreec:v:68:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10640-016-0052-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Matthew Adler & Nicolas Treich, 2015. "Prioritarianism and Climate Change," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 62(2), pages 279-308, October.
    17. Jan Siegmeier & Linus Mattauch & Max Franks & David Klenert & Anselm Schultes & Ottmar Edenhofer, 2015. "A Public Finance Perspective on Climate Policy: Six Interactions That May Enhance Welfare," Working Papers 2015.31, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    18. Fleurbaey, Marc, 2015. "On sustainability and social welfare," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 34-53.
    19. repec:eee:ecolec:v:146:y:2018:i:c:p:520-535 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Dieckhoener, Caroline & Hecking, Harald, 2012. "Greenhouse Gas Abatement Cost Curves of the Residential Heating Market – a Microeconomic Approach," EWI Working Papers 2012-16, Energiewirtschaftliches Institut an der Universitaet zu Koeln (EWI).

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    Keywords

    Climate change; education; Maximin; growth.;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models
    • Q50 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - General
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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