I had the pleasure of being a jury member for the PhD thesis of Can Askan Mavi. Today was Can’s defence of his thesis, entitled “Essays on Environmental Policy under Catastrophic Event Uncertainty”, and it was a pleasure to have been there and  having had the opportunity to discuss the work. I would like to congratulate Can for his nice work and wish him all the best for his future career.He is now moving to SupAgro-INRA in Montpellier for a Postdoc position.

If you are interested in theoretical modelling of the impact of disasters and the relationship to the trade-off between adaptation and mitigation, then I invite you to take a look at his thesis.

The other jury members were Antoine Bommier, Professeur at ETH Zürich, Mouez Fodha, Professeur at Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne, Katrin Millock, Charge de Recherche CNRS at Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne, and Lionel Ragot, Professeur at Paris-Nanterre. The thesis director was Antoine d’Autume, Professeur at Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne.


Could you please forward this job opening as “University Assistant“  to potential PhD candidates which is basically a fully funded post (4 years) associated with pursuing a PhD in Economics.


Thank you very much!

Professor Dr Michael Finus

Professor in Climate and Environmental Economics
Department of Economics
University of Graz


In the paper “Climate Policy Must Favour Mitigation Over Adaptation”, I develop the argument that the world must prefer mitigation to adaptation at the global level. The argument rests on the observation that mitigation is a public good while adaptation is a private one. I have the feeling that the academic literature has completely missed this point, and especially the representative agent literature, but also integrated assessment models that introduce adaptation and mitigation.

Read on for more details, why I have trouble to get this published in a journal, the referees’ comments and my rebuffals.

Read More

I am happy to announce that my article entitled “The Aggregation Dilemma in Climate Change Policy Evaluation” has been accepted for publication in the journal Climate Change Economics.

The article deals with the following question:

We show that a policy maker who ignores regional data and instead relies on aggregated integrated assessment models is likely underestimating the carbon price and thus the required climate policy. Based on a simple theoretical model we give conditions under which the Aggregation Dilemma is expected to play a role in climate change cost-benefit analysis. We then study the importance of the Aggregation Dilemma with the integrated assessment model RICE (Nordhaus, 2000).
Aggregating all regions of the RICE-99 model into one region yields a 40% lower social cost of carbon than the RICE model itself predicts. Based on extrapolating the results a country-level integrated assessment model would give a more than eight times higher social cost of carbon compared to a fully aggregated model. We suggest that these tentative results require researchers to re-think the aggregation level used in integrated assessment models and to develop models at much lower levels of aggregation than currently available.

Here is the article if you are interested: pdf

Aix-Marseille School of Economics (AMSE) and Center for Environmental Economics in Montpellier (CEE-M) invite applications for a 2-year, fully-funded postdoctoral position in Economics, with an emphasis on Economics of risk and uncertainty and Environmental economics. They are mainly interested in candidates specializing in Behavioral economics and/or Contract theory. The postdoctoral researcher will join a team to work on the research projects GREEN-Econ (Transition Toward a GREENer Economy: Environmental Policies and Societal Adaptation) and Green-Society (Toward a greener
economy: behavioral and societal adaptations to environmental changes),

More information available here: Post-doctoral_Position_2018

I’ve been looking at a hotel on booking.com for a conference. Incidently, a friend of mine looked at the same hotel for this conference. Now facebook informs me that this friend of mine has also been looking at the same hotel.
Isn’t this just great? Look how helpful those advertisement companies are. Maybe I’d have never met him there.
Incidently, what facebook and co apparently didn’t know is that I did a joint booking, a room for my friend and one for myself.
For some reason, my friend’s google agenda has already put this event in my friend’s calendar. And the only thing I passed to booking.com is my friend’s name.
So booking.com gives information to some advertisement company that shares this information through facebook, and it also provides information to google.com. Wow. Isn’t the internet a great place nowadays?
And seriously, all this fuzz about facebook sharing user data with some company that used this in the US election? That is simply the tip of an iceberg.
Face it: There is no regulation on the internet. There is no anonymity. Advertisement companies are exploiting everything you do. Facebook and co. are living off that.
As an economist I can only tell you: put your money in advertisement companies. Governments don’t seem to want to regulate these, and this is cleary where all the business is. After all, all the big companies are investing significant and increasing shares of their earnings on advertisement. Coca Cola spends roughly four billion USD annually on advertisement. Four billion USD. In one year. On advertisement. More than the annual development aid of most European countries. A company does this. A single company.
And so it doesn’t surprise me that everyone is constantly buying all this crap, these gimmicks, widgets and gadgets. You can erroneously claim that you may be immune to advertising, but in all honesty your are not. And why should you be? Why should you be the only one that is immune? What makes you different?
And if you still believe that you are not affected by advertisement, then look around you. What stuff do you own? What things do you really need? Which ones do you really use? Where do you eat? What do you eat? What do you drive? What clothes do you wear? How big is your house/flat? How many clothes do you have and how many do you actually wear? And so on…
The moral of this story? I would say that we need two discourses on advertisement. One, which is more fundamental: Do we really need advertisement? If I know what I need then I go into a specialized shop to buy it. And only it. And that’s it. I don’t need advertisement to tell me about all these products which are out there that I don’t need right now. However, what about products that I don’t know about now but may find useful anyway? This is informative advertisement. It would be useful as long as it simply informs me. Forget all the packaging stuff, all the plastic wrapping that has nothing to do with the product and only makes it look good so you are induced to buy it. One should buy a product for the product’s sake and not because the packaging is nice. You are anyway going to throw it away in the moment you unpacked it.
Two, should we allow preference-changing advertisement? This is entirely different to the previous advertisement. In the former case you are informed about the existence of product, in the later case you are induced into believing a product is useful for you. That’s simply messing with your mind. Most of the advertisement out there is preference-changing advertisement. And of course it works. Otherwise all these companies wouldn’t invest in it. You’ll buy, and it’ll just end in some corner of your flat. But you bought it, and the wheels kept turning… Your money is now someone’s else money, and the only difference is that you’ll need to buy a new cupboard to hold all the additional stuff that you bought and will never use. And this is where Walmart jumps in.  Walmart spends annually 2.4 billion USD on advertisement. And so it goes.
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