Does Using the Social Cost of Carbon Matter?: An Assessment of U.S. Policy

Oxford University Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment Working Paper No. 13-01

29 Pages Posted: 11 Oct 2013

See all articles by Robert W. Hahn

Robert W. Hahn

Technology Policy Institute; University of Oxford, Smith School

Robert Ritz

University of Oxford

Date Written: October 10, 2013

Abstract

We evaluate a recent U.S. initiative to include the social cost of carbon (SCC) in regulatory decisions. To our knowledge, this paper provides the first systematic test of the extent to which applying the SCC has affected national policy. We examine all economically significant federal regulations since 2008, and obtain a surprising result: putting a value on changes in carbon dioxide emissions does not generally affect the ranking of the preferred policy compared with the status quo. Overall, we find little evidence that use of the SCC has affected U.S. policy choices to date. We offer an explanation related to the political economy of regulation.

Keywords: carbon dioxide, economics, political regulation

Suggested Citation

Hahn, Robert W. and Ritz, Robert, Does Using the Social Cost of Carbon Matter?: An Assessment of U.S. Policy (October 10, 2013). Oxford University Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment Working Paper No. 13-01, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2338448 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2338448

Robert W. Hahn (Contact Author)

Technology Policy Institute ( email )

1401 Eye St. NW
Suite 505
Washington, DC 20005
United States

University of Oxford, Smith School ( email )

Oxford
United Kingdom

Robert Ritz

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

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