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Economic Analysis of Global Climate Change Policy: A Primer

Robert N. Stavins

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS); Resources for the Future; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

August 29, 2000

KSG Working Paper No. 00-003

Global climate change ? perhaps even more than other environmental problems ? can be addressed successfully only with a solid understanding of its economic dimensions. This paper, prepared as an introduction to the economics section of a forthcoming book from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, provides a primer for non-economists on how economic analysis can be brought to bear on three broad questions: what will be the benefits of global climate policies; what will be their costs; and how can this information about alternative policies be assimilated in ways that are ultimately most useful for decision makers? Because of the magnitude of the anticipated benefits and costs of addressing the threat of global climate change, its great time horizons, massive uncertainties, and physical and economic irreversibilities, public policy in this area presents significant challenges to economic research. Nevertheless, a firm foundation is provided by the existing literature from nearly three decades of theoretical and empirical economic analysis.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 21

Keywords: global climate change, benefit-cost analysis, cost effectiveness, distributional equity, interngenerational equity

JEL Classification: Q25, Q48

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Date posted: October 9, 2000  

Suggested Citation

Stavins, Robert N., Economic Analysis of Global Climate Change Policy: A Primer (August 29, 2000). KSG Working Paper No. 00-003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=240389 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.240389

Contact Information

Robert N. Stavins (Contact Author)
Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-1820 (Phone)
617-496-3783 (Fax)
Resources for the Future
1616 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
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