Munich Personal RePEc Archive

On the political economy of environmental survival versus collapse. Clarifying the work done by Tinbergen & Hueting vis-à-vis Weitzman, Nordhaus and Stern

Colignatus, Thomas (2008): On the political economy of environmental survival versus collapse. Clarifying the work done by Tinbergen & Hueting vis-à-vis Weitzman, Nordhaus and Stern.

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Abstract

The Stern Review (2006) on the economics of climate change presented a cost estimate of perhaps even 20% of national income and subsequently was criticized by Weitzman and Nordhaus and others in a discussion that centered on the use of the calculus of variations and the choice of the proper rate of discount. The Tinbergen & Hueting (1991) approach deals with the wider environmental collapse, is not formulated in the form of the calculus of variations, and arrives at a sustainable level of national income of about 50% of national income. The Tinbergen & Hueting (TH) approach appears to be neglected by Weitzman, Nordhaus and Stern (WNS) but appears to be better grounded in economic theory, mathematically richer and empirically more relevant. This paper clarifies the misunderstandings and omissions in the work by WNS on environmental economics.

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