Optimal timing of climate change policy; Interaction between carbon taxes and innovation externalities

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Gerlagh, Reyer, Snorre Kverndokk and Knut Einar Rosendahl




Environmental and Resource Economics

vol. 43, no. 3, pp. 369-390

Sammendrag (engelsk)

This paper addresses the impact of endogenous technology through research and development (R&D) on the timing of climate change policy. We develop a model with a stock pollutant (carbon dioxide) and abatement technological change through R&D, and we use the model to study the interaction between carbon taxes and innovation externalities. Our analysis shows that the timing of optimal emission reduction policy strongly depends on the set of policy instruments available. When climate-specific R&D targeting instruments are available, policy has to use these to step up early innovation. When these instruments are not available, policy has to steer innovation through creating demand for emission saving technologies. That is, carbon taxes should be high compared to the Pigouvian levels when the abatement industry is developing. Finally, we calibrate the model in order to explore the magnitude of the theoretical findings within the context of climate change policy.


Climate change, environmental policy, technological change, research and development


H21, O30, Q42

Prosjekt info:

Oppdragsgiver: Norges forskningsråd
Oppdragsgivers prosjektnr.:
Frisch prosjekt: 3144 - Post Kyoto Climate Agreements and Technological Innovation