Publications

Publications

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2022 / Dawid H, Hepp J

Distributional Effects of Technological Regime Changes: Hysteresis, Concentration and Inequality Dynamics

Review of Evolutionary Political Economy, Vol. 3, 137–167
2022 / Ivan Savin, Felix Creutzig, Tatiana Filatova, Joël Foramitti, Théo Konc, Leila Niamir, Karolina Safarzynska, Jeroen van den Bergh

Agent-based modeling to integrate elements from different disciplines for ambitious climate policy

WIRE's Climate Change, Vol. 14, Issue 2
Summary

Ambitious climate mitigation policies face social and political resistance. One reason is that existing policies insufficiently capture the diversity of relevant insights from the social sciences about potential policy outcomes. We argue that agent-based models can serve as a powerful tool for integration of elements from different disciplines. Having such a common platform will enable a more complete assessment of climate policies, in terms of criteria like effectiveness, equity and public support.

2021 / Pavanello, F., E. De Cian, M. Davide, M. Mistry, T. Cruz, P. Bezerra, D. Jagu, S. Renner, R. Schaeffer, A.F.P. Lucena

Air-conditioning and the adaptation cooling deficit in emerging economies

Nature Communications, Vol. 12, Art.-Nr. 6460
2022 / Colelli, F.P., J. Emmerling, G. Marangoni, M.N. Mistry, E. De Cian

Increased energy use for adaptation significantly impacts mitigation pathways

Nature Communications, Vol. 13, Art.-Nr. 4964
2021 / Maestre, S., S. Drews, I. Savin, J. van den Bergh

Carbon tax acceptability with information provision and mixed revenue uses

Nature Communications, Vol. 12, Art.-Nr. 7017
Summary
Public acceptability of carbon taxation depends on its revenue use. Which single or mixed revenue use is most appropriate, and which perceptions of policy effectiveness and fairness explain this, remains unclear. It is, moreover, uncertain how people’s prior knowledge about carbon taxation affects policy acceptability. Here we conduct a survey experiment to test how distinct revenue uses, prior knowledge, and information provision about the functioning of carbon taxation affect policy perceptions and acceptability. We show that spending revenues on climate projects maximises acceptability as well as perceived fairness and effectiveness. A mix of different revenue uses is also popular, notably compensating low-income households and funding climate projects. In addition, we find that providing information about carbon taxation increases acceptability for unspecified revenue use and for people with more prior tax knowledge. Furthermore, policy acceptability is more strongly related to perceived fairness than to perceived effectiveness.
2021 / van den Bergh, J., and I. Savin

Impact of carbon pricing on low‑carbon innovation and deep decarbonisation: Controversies and path forward

Environmental and Resource Economics, Vol. 80, 705-715
Summary
There is an ongoing discussion about the effectiveness of carbon pricing, with a strong division between optimists and pessimists. A recent review study by Lilliestam, Patt and Bersalli (2021) of the impact of carbon pricing on low-carbon innovation and deep carbonization concludes that there is no evidence for such an impact. We evaluate this study and identify various shortcomings of it, which together cast strong doubts on its main conclusion. Instead, we conclude, based on the studies reviewed by the authors and additional, overlooked literature, that carbon pricing has had a small but positive and significant effect on low-carbon innovation. Our evaluation provides lessons for undertaking a systematic and objective review of research on this topic. Since the main goal of carbon pricing is changing choices by firms and consumers that affect carbon emissions, we also point the reader towards recent evidence for the broader effectiveness of carbon pricing.
2021 / Foramitti, J., I. Savin, and J. van den Bergh

Regulation at the source? Comparing upstream and downstream climate policies

Technological Forecasting & Social Change, Vol. 172, Art.-Nr. 121060
Summary
Climate policies can be applied either upstream, where fossil fuels are extracted, or downstream, where emissions are generated. Specific policy instruments can be defined for either level, and can take the form of a price signal such as through a tax, or a quantity limit such as through direct regulation or a permit market. In this study, we present an agent-based model to compare the performance of these different instruments and regulation levels. Since policy coverage is often limited, i.e. not all firms being under the regulator’s control, we also examine the impact of incomplete coverage on relative policy performance. Our analysis shows that only upstream regulation leads to an increase in fossil fuel prices, which is benefitial under limited coverage as it also affects firms not directly affected by the policy instruments; that prices under quantity-based regulation can decline after an initial peak, stabilizing at a lower level than under the tax; and that direct regulation is more efficient when applied upstream.
2021 / Exadaktylos, F., and J. van den Bergh

Energy-related behaviour and rebound when rationality, self-interest and willpower are limited

Nature Energy, Vol. 6(12), 1104-1113
Summary
The extent to which adopting energy-efficient technologies results in energy savings depends on how such technologies are used, and how monetary savings from energy efficiency are spent. Energy rebound occurs when potential energy savings are diminished due to post-adoption behaviour. Here we review empirical studies on how six behavioural regularities affect three energy-relevant decisions and ultimately rebound: adoption of energy-saving products or practices, their intensity of use and spending of associated monetary savings. The findings suggest that behaviours that reflect limited rationality and willpower may increase rebound, while the effects of behaviours driven by bounded self-interest are less clear. We then describe how interventions associated with each of the behavioural regularities can influence rebound and thus serve to achieve higher energy savings. Future research ought to study energy-relevant decisions in a more integrated manner, with a particular focus on re-spending as this presents the greatest challenge for research and policy.
2021 / van den Bergh, J., Castro, J., S. Drews, F. Exadaktylos, J. Foramitti, F. Klein, T. Konc and I. Savin

Designing an effective climate-policy mix: Accounting for instrument synergy

Climate Policy, Vol. 21(6), 745-764
Summary
We assess evidence from theoretical-modelling, empirical and experimental studies on how interactions between instruments of climate policy affect overall emissions reduction. Such interactions take the form of negative, zero or positive synergistic effects. The considered instruments comprise performance and technical standards, carbon pricing, adoption subsidies, innovation support, and information provision. Based on the findings, we formulate climate-policy packages that avoid negative and employ positive synergies, and compare their strengths and weaknesses on other criteria. We note that the international context of climate policy has been neglected in assessments of policy mixes, and argue that transparency and harmonization of national policies may be key to a politically feasible path to meet global emission targets. This suggests limiting the complexity of climate-policy packages.
2021 / Foramitti, J., I. Savin and J. van den Bergh

Emission tax vs. permit trading under bounded rationality and dynamic markets

Energy Policy, Vol. 148, Part B, 112009
Summary
A price on emissions can be achieved through an emission tax or permit trading. The advantages and drawbacks of either instrument are debated. We present an agent-based model to compare their performance under bounded rationality and dynamic markets. It describes firms that face uncertainty about future demand and prices; use heuristic rules to decide production levels, trading prices, and technology adoption; and are heterogeneous in terms of production factors, abatement costs, and trading behavior. Using multiple evaluation criteria and a wide range of parameter values, we find that the main difference between the two policies lies in the fact that permit prices fall after successful abatement. This can lead to higher production levels under permit trading, but can also drive emission-efficient firms out of the market. Scarcity rents under permit trading can further create higher profit rates for firms, the extent of which is shown to depend on the mechanisms for market-clearing and initial allocation.
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