PhD defence: Climate Change and Social Preferences - Exploring Preferences for Distributional Outcomes of Climate Policy – University of Copenhagen

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PhD defence: Climate Change and Social Preferences - Exploring Preferences for Distributional Outcomes of Climate Policy

PhD defence

Lea Skræp Svenningsen

Abstract

The objective of this thesis is to explore the empirical foundation of accounting for distributional social preferences in the context of climate policy. This is a relevant question to pursue for three reasons: 1) the empirical existence of distributional social preferences in the context of climate policy has not previously been explored, 2) the theoretical implications of a policymaker with distributional social preferences, is a higher price on carbon emissions, which ceteris paribus will generate grounds for a more aggressive level of climate policy, and finally 3) the efficiency of climate policies requires a design founded on the actual preference structure of individuals.
This PhD thesis consists of five papers that explore distributional social preferences in the context of climate policy and is based on three separate data collections, involving two standard discrete choice experiments and one incentivized discrete choice experiment using a real donation mechanism.
Taken together, this thesis suggests that a substantial share of the population considers the distributional outcomes of climate policy to be of importance – a finding which is consistent across the different experimental contexts. Moreover, these distributional concerns are likely to be heterogeneous in nature and relate to the individual’s expectation regarding the degree of climate change as well as individual’s time preferences. Furthermore, this thesis find that a framing that highlights loss, overall leads to a higher willingness to support climate policies. This thesis presents the following implications for future climate policy design: 1) it provides an argument for the inclusion of distributional concerns in climate policy design; 2) policymakers can enhance the support for climate policies by stressing the presence of co-benefits; 3) loss framing will increase the support to climate policies, and finally; 4) policymakers should recognise that support for climate policies will vary between different segments of the population and it is likely that a share of the population may not be willing to support climate policies.

Supervisors

Bo Jellesmark Thorsen, Professor, Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen

Lars Gårn Hansen, Professor, Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen

Assesment Committee

Søren Bøye Olsen, Associate Professor, Department of Food and Resource Economics, University of Copenhagen

Mara Thiene, Associate Professor, University of Padova

Fredrik Carlsson, Professor, University of Gothenburg

If you are interested in a full copy of the thesis, you can contact the PhD student or the supervisor.