Keynote speakers > Martin Weitzman

Martin Weitzman

Martin Lawrence "Marty" Weitzman (born April 1, 1942) is an American Professor of Economics at Harvard University. Previously he was on the faculties of MIT and Yale. He has served as consultant for several well-known organizations, such as The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Agency for International Development, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Congressional Budget Office, the Canadian Parliamentary Committee on Employment, the Icelandic Committee on Natural Resources, the National Academy Panel on Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

He has published widely in many leading economic journals and written three books. Weitzman's interests in economics are broad, ranging over the years from macroeconomics, industrial organization, labor economics and environmental economics. In this last topic, he has covered topics such as climate change, the economics of catastrophes, cost-benefit analysis, long-run discounting, green accounting, and comparison of alternative instruments for controlling pollution.

He has had editorial responsibilities in several prestigious scientific journals, in particular the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management.

Noticeable scientific distinctions: fellow of the Econometric Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Keynote Lecture
“On a World Climate Assembly and the Social Cost of Carbon”

This talk postulates the conceptually useful allegory of a futuristic "World Climate Assembly" (WCA) that votes for a single worldwide price on carbon emissions via the basic democratic principle of one-person one-vote majority rule.  If this WCA framework can be accepted in the first place, then voting on a single internationally-binding minimum carbon price (the proceeds from which are domestically retained) tends to counter self-interest by incentivizing countries or agents to internalize the externality.  I attempt to sketch out the sense in which each WCA-agent's extra cost from a higher emissions price is counter-balanced by that agent's extra benefit from inducing all other WCA-agents to simultaneously lower their emissions in response to the higher price.  The talk examines the relationship between the WCA-voted solution and the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC).  I argue that the WCA-voted price and the SCC are unlikely to differ sharply.  Some implications are discussed.  The overall methodology of the paper is a mixture of mostly classical with some behavioral economics.

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(credit photo: Harvard University website)

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