Discounting the Future: on Climate Change, Ambiguity Aversion and Epstein-Zin preferences
SeriesSpatial Economics Seminar
Speaker(s)Sweder van Wijnbergen (University of Amsterdam), Stan Olijslagers (University of Amsterdam)
Date and time
October 10, 2019
12:15 - 13:15
We focus on the effect of preference specifications on the current day valuation of future outcomes. Specifically, we analyze the effect of risk aversion, ambiguity aversion and the elasticity of intertemporal substitution on the willingness to pay to avoid climate change risk. We propose an integrated assessment model (IAM) with stochastic climate disasters. Since the model yields closed form solutions up to solving an integral, our model does not suffer from the curse of dimensionality of numerical IAMs with several state variables. Introducing Epstein-Zin preferences with an elasticity of substitution higher than one and ambiguity aversion leads to much larger estimates of the social cost of carbon than obtained under power utility. The dominant parameters are the risk aversion coefficient and the elasticity of intertemporal substitution. Ambiguity aversion is of second order importance.