Jennifer Castle, David Hendry, 04 June 2020

The UK’s 2008 Climate Change Act has led to a 34% fall in CO2 emissions by 2019, while real GDP per capita had risen by more than 10% following the crash into the ‘Great Recession’. Can the UK achieve its recent net-zero emissions target by 2050 while still growing? This column describes some speculative routes to such a decarbonised future.

Rikard Forslid, 03 April 2020

The transport sector is a significant greenhouse-gas emitter. Because international trade in goods requires transportation, it is regarded with some suspicion by the environmentally concerned. However, trade and transportation may actually decrease emissions if production is ‘dirtier’ than transportation. This column uses a new ‘dirtiness index’ to capture how environmentally harmful a firm is and demonstrates how transportation can reduce global emissions if the production of transport services is cleaner than the production it substitutes. The cleaner transportation is relative to other production sectors, the higher the likelihood that transportation could lower emissions.

Karl Aiginger, 20 January 2020

The new president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has announced a ‘European Green Deal’ and the Commission has asserted Europe’s need to develop a new growth model to achieve climate neutrality. However, the Commission’s limited view of ‘productivity’ ignores the fact that raising labour productivity can raise emissions and accelerate climate change. Instead, this column argues that a welfare-oriented Green Deal needs to focus on resource and energy productivity, not raising labour productivity.

Ghazala Azmat, John Hassler, Andrea Ichino, Per Krusell, Tommaso Monacelli, Moritz Schularick, 17 January 2020

Climate change is at the top of our policy agendas. What can economics contribute to help deal with this important global challenge? With the aim of answering this question, the Managing Editors of Economic Policy are opening a call for papers for a special issue on “The Economics of Climate Change” to bring together the best ideas to inform the debate and provide high-impact policy advice.

Markus K Brunnermeier, Jean-Pierre Landau, 15 January 2020

Central banks have been called on to contribute to fighting climate change. This column presents a framework for thinking about the issue and identifies some major trade-offs and choices. It argues that climate should be a major part of risk assessments and that capital ratios could be used in a proactive way by applying favourable regimes to ‘green’ loans and investments. It also suggests that central banks may want to take several climate change-related aspects into account when designing and implementing monetary policies. However, the central bank should retain absolute discretion to interrupt any action if its first-priority objective – price stability – were to be compromised.

Vladimir Otrachshenko, Olga Popova, José Tavares, 22 December 2019

There is evidence that hot climatic temperatures and crime are linked. With climate change raising temperatures around the world, it is possible we may see higher levels of personal aggression. Based on data from Russia, this column shows that on hotter days, women are more likely to be killed in homicides, especially over weekends. Colder days have no similar effect on violence. Lower wages and higher unemployment contribute to higher homicide rates, so policies promoting employment may mitigate victimisation during extreme temperature days.

Michał Burzyński, Christoph Deuster, Frédéric Docquier, Jaime de Melo, 10 December 2019

There has been much discourse on how long-term climate change will affect human mobility over the course of the 21st century. This column estimates the long-term welfare and mobility responses to climate change. Depending on the scenario, climate change will force between 210 and 320 million people to move, mostly within their own countries. Massive international flows of climate refugees are unlikely, except under generalised and persistent conflicts. The poorest economies will be hardest hit, thus increasing global inequality and extreme poverty. 

Laurence Boone, Debora Revoltella, 06 December 2019

For the past two years, global growth outcomes and prospects have steadily deteriorated, while investment growth has collapsed. This is particularly the case in Europe. This column argues that reducing policy uncertainty, rethinking fiscal policy, and acting vigorously to address the challenges raised by digitalisation, climate change, and persistent inequalities all have the potential to reverse the current slippery trend and lift investment and living standards. 

Joseph Stiglitz, 27 November 2019

Joe Stiglitz offers his thoughts on economic growth in Africa, inequality in China, and the other key economic questions of our time.

Christian Bommer, Axel Dreher, Marcello Pérez-Alvarez, 23 November 2019

International humanitarian aid plays an important role in the response to natural disasters. This column argues that political motives play a role in the allocation of aid. Focusing on the allocation of US humanitarian assistance, it shows that disasters that affect the birth regions of leaders of recipient countries receive substantially more funding than other comparable disasters. This suggests that there is a ‘home bias’ in humanitarian aid.

Stefano Carattini, Simon A. Levin, Alessandro Tavoni, 23 October 2019

Climate change is a global crisis, a fact long seen as an obstacle to fighting it. Contra conventional economic wisdom, this column argues that lessons from managing local commons may also apply to global dilemmas. Evidence ranging from hybrid cars to carbon offsets suggests that for people deciding whether to adopt climate-friendly behaviours, local social norms matter, despite the global nature of the problem. Further, interventions can play a key role in facilitating behavioural change by increasing the visibility of otherwise invisible behaviours such as green energy adoption.

Richard Samans, 22 September 2019

The world’s climate change strategy and the global trading system are both in need of an infusion of fresh momentum. This column argues that the climate and trade diplomatic communities need each other more than they know, and it is time to bring them together. The best way to reinvigorate both climate and trade diplomacy is to think and act outside the box of the Paris Agreement and conventional free trade agreements and push for low-carbon trade agreements.

Beata Javorcik, 13 September 2019

Economists argue whether foreign direct investment in developing economies exports pollution or generates green growth. Beata Javorcik talks to Tim Phillips about a surprising conclusion from factory-level research.

Robert Stavins, 09 September 2019

Environmental economist Martin Weitzman passed away in August. This short intellectual biography and personal remembrance, by his long-time co-host of the Harvard Seminar on Environmental Economics and Policy, outlines how his contributions have advanced the thinking of environmental economists and policymakers on many fundamental issues, including policy instrument choice, discounting, species diversity, and environmental catastrophes. Across the board, the example of his rigorous and often ingenious work set high standards for theorising in environmental economics and thereby served to elevate the entire field.

Arlan Brucal, Beata Javorcik, Inessa Love, 16 August 2019

The link between foreign ownership and environmental performance remains a controversial issue. Data from the Indonesian manufacturing census show that plants undergoing foreign acquisitions reduce their energy intensity by about 30% two years after acquisition by multinationals. This column argues that foreign direct investment can serve as a channel for the international transfer of environmentally friendly technologies and practices, thus directly contributing not only to economic growth but also to environmental progress. 

Giovanni Peri, Akira Sasahara, 15 July 2019

Though the economic consequences of climate change will be felt across the globe, not all populations will be affected equally. This column examines the impact of rising temperatures on migrant communities. Using historical data from three decades (1970-2000), it finds that higher temperatures increased the number of rural-to-urban migrations in middle-income countries while decreasing rural-to-urban migrations in poor countries. The prospect of climate change leaving large rural populations trapped in poverty adds urgency to the case for addressing the asymmetric effects of global warming. 

Wolfram Schlenker, Charles Taylor, 02 May 2019

Understanding beliefs about climate change is important, but most of the measures used in the literature are unreliable. Instead, this column uses prices of financial products whose payouts are tied to future weather outcomes in the US. These market expectations correlate well with climate model outputs between 2002 and 2018 and observed weather data across eight US cities, and show significant warming trends. When money is at stake, agents are accurately anticipating warming trends in line with the scientific consensus of climate models.

Dirk Schoenmaker, 17 April 2019

The ECB’s market-neutral approach to monetary policy undermines the general aim of the EU to achieve a low-carbon economy. The column argues that steering the allocation of the Eurosystem’s assets and collateral towards low-carbon sectors would reduce the cost of capital for these sectors relative to high-carbon sectors. A modest titling approach could accelerate a transition to a low-carbon economy, and could be implemented without interfering with the priority of price stability.

Jonathan Dingel, Kyle Meng, 06 March 2019

Climate change is expected to reshape the global distribution of productivities. In theory, shifts in the spatial structure of economic conditions will affect international inequality by altering the pattern of international trade. In practice, it is hard to identify natural experiments to causally validate predictions about global conditions. This column describes research that exploits a global climatic phenomenon to estimate the general equilibrium consequences of changes in the spatial correlation of productivities. 



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