IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Efficient public adaptation to climate change: An investigation of drivers and barriers from a Public Choice perspective

  • Gawel, Erik
  • Heuson, Clemens
  • Lehmann, Paul

Since numerous countries have already initiated a process of adaptation to climate change by drafting strategies or catalogues of measures, it is of particular importance to identify and overcome potential barriers to efficient public adap-tation from the beginning. A major source of barriers is given by self-interest driven behaviour of actors involved in the adaptation policy process. This is for the reason that several features of the adaptation option and the surrounding policy framework, such as the lacking of a clear-cut success-metric, are likely to boost such behaviour since they facilitate both the manipulation of the adaptation output and the exertion of influence through the various actor groups shaping the political system. Against this background, this paper provides a broad conceptual Public Choice theory framework serving both for raising the consciousness of potential barriers to efficient public adaptation and creating a sound basis for further in-depth research. Concerning the efficiency of public adaptation policies, we distinguish three dimensions, namely extent, structure (form and timing) and organisation (vertical and horizontal) of public adaptation. For either case, potential political biases are investigated taking into consideration the self-interests and influence of voters, pressure groups, bureaucrats and politi-cians in a representative democracy framework.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS) in its series UFZ Discussion Papers with number 14/2012.

in new window

Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zbw:ufzdps:142012
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Permoserstraße 15, 04318 Leipzig

Phone: ++49 - 0341 - 235-2771
Fax: ++49 - 0341 - 235-2825
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
  2. Wyckoff, Paul Gary, 1990. "The Simple Analytics of Slack-Maximizing Bureaucracy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 67(1), pages 35-47, October.
  3. Ingrid Koch & Coleen Vogel & Zarina Patel, 2007. "Institutional dynamics and climate change adaptation in South Africa," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 12(8), pages 1323-1339, October.
  4. Paul A. Raschky & Reimund Schwarze & Manijeh Schwindt & Ferdinand Zahn, 2010. "Uncertainty of Governmental Relief and the Crowding out of Insurance," Monash Economics Working Papers 05-10, Monash University, Department of Economics.
  5. Davila, Alberto & Pagan, Jose A & Grau, Montserrat Viladrich, 1999. "Immigration Reform, the INS, and the Distribution of Interior and Border Enforcement Resources," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 99(3-4), pages 327-45, June.
  6. 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.
  7. Russell Sobel & Peter Leeson, 2006. "Government's response to Hurricane Katrina: A public choice analysis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 127(1), pages 55-73, April.
  8. Alistair Hunt & Paul Watkiss, 2011. "Climate change impacts and adaptation in cities: a review of the literature," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 104(1), pages 13-49, January.
  9. Thomas A. Garrett & Russell S. Sobel, 2003. "The Political Economy of FEMA Disaster Payments," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(3), pages 496-509, July.
  10. Thomas Measham & Benjamin Preston & Timothy Smith & Cassandra Brooke & Russell Gorddard & Geoff Withycombe & Craig Morrison, 2011. "Adapting to climate change through local municipal planning: barriers and challenges," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 16(8), pages 889-909, December.
  11. Wallace E. Oates, 1999. "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1120-1149, September.
  12. John Gist & R. Hill, 1981. "The economics of choice in the allocation of Federal grants: An empirical test," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 36(1), pages 63-73, January.
  13. Mueller, Dennis C & Stratmann, Thomas, 1994. "Informative and Persuasive Campaigning," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 81(1-2), pages 55-77, October.
  14. Jan Corfee-Morlot & Ian Cochran & Stéphane Hallegatte & Pierre-Jonathan Teasdale, 2011. "Multilevel risk governance and urban adaptation policy," Post-Print hal-00659280, HAL.
  15. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416.
  16. Pranab Bardhan, 2002. "Decentralization of Governance and Development," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 185-205, Fall.
  17. Heuson, Clemens & Gawel, Erik & Gebhardt, Oliver & Hansjürgens, Bernd & Lehmann, Paul & Meyer, Volker & Schwarze, Reimund, 2012. "Fundamental questions on the economics of climate adaptation: Outlines of a new research programme," UFZ Reports 05/2012, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ).
  18. Browne, Mark J & Hoyt, Robert E, 2000. "The Demand for Flood Insurance: Empirical Evidence," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 291-306, May.
  19. Thomas G Measham & Benjamin L Preston & Cassandra Brooke & Tim F Smith & Craig Morrison & Geoff Withycombe & Russell Gorddard, 2010. "Adapting to Climate Change Through Local Municipal Planning: Barriers and Opportunities," Socio-Economics and the Environment in Discussion (SEED) Working Paper Series 2010-05, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems.
  20. Paul Raschky & Reimund Schwarze & Manijeh Schwindt & Ferdinand Zahn, 2013. "Uncertainty of Governmental Relief and the Crowding out of Flood Insurance," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 54(2), pages 179-200, February.
  21. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-51, November.
  22. Michaelowa, Axel, 2001. "Mitigation versus adaptation : the political economy of competition between climate policy strategies and the consequences for developing countries," HWWA Discussion Papers 153, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA).
  23. Coate, Stephen, 1995. "Altruism, the Samaritan's Dilemma, and Government Transfer Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 46-57, March.
  24. Klaus Eisenack & Rebecca Stecker, 2012. "A framework for analyzing climate change adaptations as actions," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 243-260, March.
  25. Christopher Bryant & Barry Smit & Michael Brklacich & Thomas Johnston & John Smithers & Quentin Chjotti & Bhawan Singh, 2000. "Adaptation in Canadian Agriculture to Climatic Variability and Change," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 181-201, April.
  26. Weingast, Barry R & Marshall, William J, 1988. "The Industrial Organization of Congress; or, Why Legislatures, Like Firms, Are Not Organized as Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(1), pages 132-63, February.
  27. Howard Kunreuther & Mark Pauly, 2004. "Neglecting Disaster: Why Don't People Insure Against Large Losses?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 5-21, January.
  28. Erik Gawel & Clemens Heuson, 2012. "Ökonomische Grundfragen der Klimaanpassung," Wirtschaftsdienst, Springer;German National Library of Economics, vol. 92(7), pages 480-487, July.
  29. Agrawala, Shardul & Bosello, Francesco & Carraro, Carlo & de Cian, Enrica & Lanzi, Elisa, 2011. "Adapting to Climate Change: Costs, Benefits, and Modelling Approaches," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 5(3), pages 245-284, August.
  30. Oates, Wallace E. & Schwab, Robert M., 1988. "Economic competition among jurisdictions: efficiency enhancing or distortion inducing?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 333-354, April.
  31. Daniel Osberghaus & Astrid Dannenberg & Tim Mennel & Bodo Sturm, 2010. "The role of the government in adaptation to climate change," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 28(5), pages 834-850, October.
  32. Olson, Mancur, Jr, 1969. "The Principle of "Fiscal Equivalence": The Division of Responsibilities among Different Levels of Government," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 479-87, May.
  33. Mueller,Dennis C., 2003. "Public Choice III," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521894753, November.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:ufzdps:142012. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.