Schelling's Conjecture on Climate and Development: A Test

David Anthoff*, Richard S.J. Tol

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


We use the integrated assessment model FUND to compute the income elasticities of climate change impacts for different world regions over time. We find limited support for Schelling's Conjecture that development might be the best defence against climate change impacts, and for the idea that the impacts from climate change might be akin to a 'luxury good'. For very poor regions, an increase in income in the short run is an effective tool to reduce impacts from climate change by making those societies less vulnerable, in particular to infectious diseases. While net climate impacts appear to be akin to a luxury good for some countries at specific times, that effect disappears in the long run as impacts from agriculture make up a large share of total impacts.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClimate Change and Common Sense
Subtitle of host publicationEssays in Honour of Tom Schelling
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191738371
ISBN (Print)9780199692873
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2012


  • Climate change
  • Economic development
  • Income elasticity


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