The Economics of Climate Change: Adaptations Past and Present

Front Cover
Gary D. Libecap, Richard H. Steckel
University of Chicago Press, 2011 - Business & Economics - 353 pages

While debates over the consequences of climate change are often pessimistic, historical data from the past two centuries indicate many viable opportunities for responding to potential changes. This volume takes a close look at the ways in which economies—particularly that of the United States—have adjusted to the challenges climate change poses, including institutional features that help insulate the economy from shocks, new crop varieties, irrigation, flood control, and ways of extending cultivation to new geographic areas. These innovations indicate that people and economies have considerable capacity to acclimate, especially when private gains complement public benefits. Options for adjusting to climate change abound, and with improved communication and the emergence of new information and technologies, the potential for adaptation will be even greater in the future.

 

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Contents

Adaptations in Historical Perspective
1
1 Additive Damages FatTailed Climate Dynamics and Uncertain Discounting
23
2 Modeling the Impact of Warming in Climate Change Economics
47
3 Droughts Floods and Financial Distress in the United States
73
The United States Prior to the Farm Programs 18951932
99
5 Information and the Impact of Climate and Weatheron Mortality Rates during the Great Depression
131
Lessons from US Agricultural Development
169
7 The Impact of the 1936 Corn Belt Droughton American Farmers Adoption of Hybrid Corn
195
Implications for Climate Change
225
Historical Experience in the Western United States
253
10 Did Frederick Brodie Discover the Worlds First Environmental Kuznets Curve? Coal Smoke and the Rise and Fall of the London Fog
281
Evidence from Billing Data
311
Contributors
343
Author Index
345
Subject Index
349
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About the author (2011)

Gary D. Libecap is the Donald Bren Distinguished Professor of Corporate Environmental Management and professor of economics at the University of California, Santa Barbara and a research associate of the NBER. Richard H. Steckel is the SBS Distinguished Professor of Economics, Anthropology, and History at Ohio State University and a research associate of the NBER.

 

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