Articles in Journals

Stavins, Robert N. ““Martin Weitzman: A Gift That Keeps on Giving.” .” Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists 9, no. 5 (2022): 843 - 850. stavins_wagner_essay_2022.pdf
Stavins, Robert N."The Relative Merits of Carbon Pricing Instruments: Taxes versus Trading".” Review of Environmental Economics and Policy 16, no. 1 (2022): 1-21. Publisher's VersionAbstract
There is widespread agreement among most economists that economy-wide carbon pricing will be a necessary (although not necessarily sufficient) component of any policy that can achieve meaningful and cost-effective CO2 reductions in large, complex economies. But there is less agreement about which of two carbon pricing instruments will be better. Some support carbon taxes, while others favor cap-and-trade. How do these two pricing approaches compare? In this survey and synthesis of theory and experience, I show that when carbon taxes and carbon cap-and-trade systems are designed in ways that make them truly comparable, their characteristics and outcomes are similar and, in some respects, fully equivalent. But the two approaches can perform quite differently along some specific dimensions, sometimes favoring taxes and sometimes cap-and-trade. The key differences in performance depend on details of program design. Indeed, what appears at first glance to be a dichotomous choice between two distinct instruments can turn out to be a choice of specific design elements along a policy continuum.
Aldy, Joseph E., and Robert N. Stavins. “Rolling the Dice in the Corridors of Power: William Nordhaus's Impacts on Climate Change Policy.” Harvard Environmental Economics Program Discussion Paper Series (2020).Abstract
The seminal contributions of William Nordhaus to scholarship on the long-run macroeconomics of global climate change are clear. Much more challenging to identify are the impacts of Nordhaus and his research on public policy in this domain. We examine three conceptually distinct pathways for that influence: his personal participation in the policy world; his research’s direct contribution to the formulation and evaluation of public policy; and his research’s indirect role informing public policy. Many of the themes that emerge in this assessment of the contributions of one of the most important economists to have worked in the domain of climate change analysis apply more broadly to the roles played by other leading economists in this and other policy domains.
Stavins, Robert. “The Future of U.S. Carbon-Pricing Policy.” Environmental and Energy Policy and the Economy 1 (2020): 8–64. stavins_eepe_2020_journal_article.pdf
Stavins, Robert N.The Madrid climate conference's real failure was not getting a broad deal on global climate markets.The Conversation (2019). Publisher's Version
Stavins, R. N., L Schneider, M Duan, K Kizzier, D Broekhoff, F Jotzo, H Winkler, M Lazarus, A Howard, and C Hood. “Double Counting and the Paris Agreement Rulebook.” Science 366, no. 6462 (2019): 180–183. double_counting_science_policy_forum-october_2019_published_version.pdf
Stavins, Robert N., and Richard Schmalensee. “Policy Evolution Under the Clean Air Act.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 33, no. 4 (2019): 27-50. Publisher's Version policy_evolution_under_the_clean_air_act_jep-published_version.pdf
Schmalensee, Richard, and Robert Stavins. “Learning from Thirty Years Cap & Trade.” Resources, no. 201 (2019). Publisher's Version
Mehling, Michael A., Gilbert E. Metcalf, and Robert N. Stavins. “Linking Heterogeneous Climate Policies (Consistent with the Paris Agreement).Environmental Law 8, no. 4 (2019): 647–698.Abstract
The Paris Agreement to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has achieved one of two key necessary conditions for ultimate success—a broad base of participation among the countries of the world. But another key necessary condition has yet to be achieved—adequate collective ambition of the individual nationally determined contributions. How can the climate negotiators provide a structure that will include incentives to increase ambition over time? An important part of the answer can be international linkage of regional, national, and sub-national policies, that is, formal recognition of emission reductions undertaken in another jurisdiction for the purpose of meeting a Party’s own mitigation objectives. A central challenge is how to facilitate such linkage in the context of the very great heterogeneity that characterizes climate policies along five dimensions: type of policy instrument, level of government jurisdiction, status of that jurisdiction under the Paris Agreement, nature of the policy instrument’s target, and the nature along several dimensions of each Party’s Nationally Determined Contribution. We consider such heterogeneity among policies, and identify which linkages of various combinations of characteristics are feasible; of these, which are most promising; and what accounting mechanisms would make the operation of respective linkages consistent with the Paris Agreement.
Chan, Gabriel, Robert Stavins, and Zou Ji. “International Climate Change Policy.” Annual Review of Resource Economics 10 (2018): 335–360.Abstract
International cooperation to address the threat of climate change has become more institutionally diverse over the past decade, reflecting multiple scales of governance and the growing inclusion of climate change issues in other policy arenas. Cooperation under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has continued to evolve from the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to the 2015 Paris Agreement, while other governmental and private sector international fora for cooperation have arisen. As the level of activity in international cooperation on climate change mitigation has increased, so too has the related scholarly literature. In this review, we synthesize the literature on international climate change cooperation and identify key policy implications, as well as those findings most relevant for the research community. Our scope includes critical evaluation of the organization and implementation of agreements and instruments, retrospective analysis of cooperative efforts, and explanations of successes and failures.
Stavins, R. N.Some Reflections on the Role of Economics in Environmental Policy.” The Environmental Forum 35, no. 6 (2018): 15. column_87_some_reflections_on_the_role_of_economics_in_environmental_policy.pdf
Stavins, R. N.Linkage Will Prove Essential for Ultimate Success of Paris Agreement.” The Environmental Forum 35, no. 5 (2018): 15. stavins_-_2018_-_linkage_will_prove_essential_for_ultimate_success_.pdf
Stavins, Robert. “Should California Develop the State's Large Petroleum Resources?The Environmental Forum 35, no. 4 (2018): 15. should_california_develop_the_states_large_petroleum_resources.pdf
Stavins, Robert. “Film Review: Rudi Goldman: Burgundy: People with a Passion for Wine.” Journal of Wine Economics 13(2018):105-108. [A-93]” (2018). burgundy_people_with_a_passion_for_wine_review_by_stavins_for_jwe.pdf
Stavins, R. N., Michael A. Mehling, and Gilbert E. Metcalf. “Linking Climate Policies to Advance Global Mitigation.” Science 359 (2018): 997–998. mehling-metcalf-stavins_linking_climate_policies_to_advance_global_mitigation.pdf
Stavins, Robert. “World’s Largest Carbon Market is Scheduled for 2020 Launch in China.” The Environmental Forum Volume 35, no. 2 (2018): 15. 021218_column_83-worlds_largest_carbon_market_2020_china.pdf