3Q: Benjamin Olken on the economic impact of climate change
A new survey on research about the effects of the changing climate

“There are many potential consequences of global climate change, and part of that calculation involves the economic damages.”

How is climate change going to affect our economic activity in the future? Many researchers have dug into this subject empirically in recent years, including economist Benjamin Olken of MIT. Now Olken, along with economists Melissa Dell of Harvard University and Benjamin Jones of Northwestern University, has co-authored a lengthy review article for the Journal of Economic Literature, surveying this research and suggesting areas needing further study. Olken sat down with MIT News recently to discuss the climate-economy connection.


"There has been a lot of emphasis on studying the effects of climate change on agriculture. But if it’s affecting other aspects of the economy — like industrial output, investment, and innovation — the long-run impact could be much bigger. As far as political conflict stemming from climate change...there is consistent evidence that increased temperatures lead to increased conflicts. The weather makes your crops grow badly, which in turn could lead to unemployment, which could lead to more conflict. The literature tells us that weather can affect things in many ways."

Read more at MIT News

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Photo by Donna Coveney courtesy of MIT News