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Financing the Climate Transition: The Role of Macroeconomic Policymakers

Project Description

A three-year doctoral studentship is available for a highly motivated candidate who has a keen interest in exploring the role that macroeconomic policymakers can play in enabling the vast reallocation of capital needed to finance a zero-carbon economy.

The project explores the role that macroeconomic policymakers can play in the energy (and wider economic, societal and cultural) transition associated with climate change. Whilst the study of climate change policy in models of long term economic growth is well established, this usually posits a social cost of carbon which a policymaker is advised to implement via carbon taxes or permits. The study of the interaction of climate policy with other aspects of macroeconomic policy is much less studied.

Macroeconomic policy - including monetary policy, counter-cyclical fiscal policy, and economic development policy - is largely concerned with economic stabilisation, with a smaller focus on long-run economic growth.

Two questions follow: First, what is the interaction between macroeconomic policies - often controlled by independent central banks, macro-prudential authorities, or state-backed investment vehicles - with climate policy? And second, what role can these bodies play in enabling the reallocation in investment needed to finance the vast need for new capital and infrastructure that will underpin falling atmospheric CO2 concentrations and a zero-carbon global economy?

This project will contribute to an emerging literature on the interaction of macroeconomics and climate change policy that goes beyond the standard Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) developed first by William Nordhaus, for which the 2018 “Nobel” Prize in Economics was awarded. The existing literature on the interaction of macroeconomics and climate change focusses to a large extent on the possibility of climate policy induced recessions caused by “stranded assets”, or the impact of different levels of economic growth on the composition of investment. The policy landscape is outstripping this academic research, with expectations that institutions like Scotland’s proposed Scottish National Investment Bank and National Infrastructure Company will drive the achievement of the country’s climate change targets; and concerns expressed by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney about Bank policy in respect of “stranded assets” and how climate change could impact the insurance industry.

We propose a number of research projects that will expand the macroeconomic literature in the area of climate change. The research methods employed will be in the form of calibrated general equilibrium modelling, taking existing macroeconomic (growth) models of the sort that have been extensively developed and used - which are dominant in the macroeconomic academic literature - and extending these to capture key features of the question being studied. The resulting augmented models will reproduce key features of the macro-economy, provide explicit modelling of the policy lever(s) under discussion, and allow for welfare analysis. The outcomes of the PhD are likely to include publications in academic journals as well as opportunities to interact with groups in this nascent policy domain.

Contact us

If you have any questions about this project, or would like to discuss it informally, please contact the lead supervisor David Comerford at
Department PGR Administrator: Fiona McIntosh ()

How to apply

All applications should include:

a cover letter indicating the candidate's relevant skills/experience and how they can contribute to this research
a CV and relevant qualification transcripts
two references (please refer to guidance on references)

Funding Notes

Fee waiver at Home/EU rate and annual stipend of approx. £14,777*

*Whilst open to International candidates, please note that this scholarship covers Home/EU/RUK Fee rate only

Related Subjects

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