Inequality Aversion and the Environment | Frank Venmans and Ben Groom

29 May, 2019 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
LSE, FAW, 9.05

Frank Venmans and Ben Groom will be discussing their paper Inequality Aversion and the Environment.


Measures of inequality aversion and pure time preference are elicited in environmental domains using hypothetical decision tasks. Estimates are elicited using comparisons of inequalities across space and time, with gain/loss and past/present
contextual framing. Inequality aversion is shown to depend on the environmental domain, time and space and framing. Inequality aversion is lower in the temporal than in the spatial domain, and lower still if the future is ‘green’ rather than ‘brown’ for air pollution, forests, and soil fertility. Pure time preference also differs across
environmental domains and framing. The results cast doubt on the classical Utilitarian formulation of inter-temporal social welfare, but provide empirical evidence to calibrate dual discount rates or changing relative prices. This is important for welfare evaluation of long-term interventions with environmental consequences, like
climate change mitigation or biodiversity conservation.

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