Climate policy with Bentham-Rawls preferences

Richard S.J. Tol*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


A Bentham-Rawls welfare function is the weighted sum of the net present welfare (Bentham) and the welfare of the worst-off generation (Rawls). If utility is non-decreasing over time, optimal climate policy is more stringent in the near-term under the Bentham criterion than under the Bentham-Rawls criterion. If utility is decreasing, Bentham-Rawls abatement is higher. If there is a chance of decreasing utility, Bentham-Rawls optimal climate policy is probably less stringent than Bentham policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-428
Number of pages5
JournalEconomics Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


  • Bentham-Rawls criterion
  • Climate policy
  • Social cost of carbon

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