Tim Besley (Program on Political Economy Seminar)


Thursday, February 18, 2021, 4:30pm to 5:45pm


Zoom - see below

Zoom links for Political Economy Seminar are distributed via the seminar's mailing list. You can sign up for the list using this link: https://lists.iq.harvard.edu/mailman/listinfo/ppe_list

All interested faculty and students are invited to attend.

Today's presenter

Tim Besley (London School of Economics), "Escaping the Climate Trap? Values, Technologies, and Politics" (with Torsten Persson)


It is widely acknowledged that reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases is almost impossible without radical changes in consumption and production patterns. This paper examines the interdependent roles of changing environmental values, changing technologies, and the politics of environmental policy, in creating sustainable societal change. Complementarities that emerge naturally in our framework may generate a "climate trap," where society does not transit towards lifestyles and technologies that are more friendly to the environment. We discuss a variety of forces that make the climate trap more or less avoidable, including lobbying by Örms, private politics, motivated scientists, and (endogenous) subsidies to green innovation.

Co-sponsored by FAS and IQSS, the Program on Political Economy (PE) supports research-related activities that integrate the study of economics and politics, whether by studying economic behavior in the political process or political behavior in the marketplace. In general, positive political economy is concerned with showing how observed differences among institutions affect political and economic outcomes in various social, economic, and political systems and how the institutions themselves change and develop in response to individual and collective beliefs, preferences, and strategies.

besley_persson-climate-trap_paper_201125.pdf428 KB