Harvard Kennedy School Harvard University

Search this site

Richard Zeckhauser
Frank Plumpton Ramsey Professor of Political Economy
phone: (617)495-1174
fax: (617)384-9340
Academic Journal/Scholarly Articles
Freeman, Mark C., Ben Groom, and Richard J. Zeckhauser. "Better Predictions, Better Allocations: Scientific Advances and Adaptation to Climate Change." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical & Engineering Sciences 373.2055 (October 2015).
Climate science initially aspired to improve understanding of what the future would bring, and thereby produce appropriate public policies and effective international climate agreements. If that hope is dashed, as now seems probable, effective policies for adapting to climate change become critical. Climate science assumes new responsibilities by helping to foster more appropriate adaptation measures, which might include shifting modes or locales of production. This theoretical article focuses on two broader tools: consumption smoothing in response to the risk of future losses, and physical adaptation measures to reduce potential damages. It shows that informative signals on the effects of climate change facilitate better decisions on the use of each tool, thereby increasing social welfare.




Copyright © 2017 The President and Fellows of Harvard College