How much are countries willing to pay for global warming not to take place?

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Title: How much are countries willing to pay for global warming not to take place?
Author: Togno, Francesca
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences
Helsingfors universitet, Statsvetenskapliga fakulteten
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2020
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Degree program: Taloustieteen maisteriohjelma
Master's Programme in Economics
Magisterprogrammet i ekonomi
Specialisation: Taloustieteellisen tutkimuksen opintosuunta
Research track
Studieinriktningen ekonomisk forskning
Abstract: This thesis attempts to examine how much a representative consumer per each country is willing to pay to avoid global warming by analysing their welfare gains from having a smoother consumption path. Temperature variations affect economic activity, and consumption is subject to shocks related to global warming. I start by reviewing the economic literature that studied the relationship between temperatures and economic activity. I highlight which are the main effects on the economy that are correlated to rising temperatures and I review the methods that are usually employed by economists to assess environmental damages. I then take a sample of 163 countries and compute the welfare gains for each country for having a smoother consumption path, following the method used by Lucas (2003). To do this, I use country-level household consumption data and I set values for the risk aversion coefficient following the suggestions of the previous economic literature. I repeat the experiment with a smaller sample of 72 countries, this time using country-specific risk aversion coefficients retrieved from Gandelman and Hernández-Murillo (2015). In both cases, I obtain that most of the countries have welfare gains lying in the order of 10^-2 and 10^-3. Using annual temperature data, I test the Spearman correlation coefficient between welfare gains and average temperatures. Although the previous literature stressed the adverse effects of global warming on the economy, I find no significant correlation between these two variables. Countries that are more at risk do not display higher welfare gains than countries with a lower risk of imminent climate damages. To explain my results, I then consider determinants of risk aversion other than temperature and conclude that risk aversion, and consequently the value of welfare gains, can depend on several other factors.
Subject: Willingness to pay
climate change
global warming
risk aversion

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