Peer Reviewed

Here are my most important journal publications sorted under the eight topics listed below. Some articles naturally fit into more than one category but are listed only under the most suitable. Either click on your topic of interest for a more thorough introduction to the field or just scroll down. For a full list see my CV.

Highlighted article: Economists and the Climate

This is an article I was asked to write for the Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics special issue “How are Economists as a profession responding to the climate emergency?”. In the article, me and my coauthors discuss the role economists have and have had in the global policy discussion on how we should deal with climate change.

Our profession has been quite unanimous in their recommendation to focus climate policy on pricing carbon. Which is an important tool that is often under-appreciated by other disciplines, but at the same time the message has been oversimplified by our own discipline. The climate emergency is a complex problem caused by multiple, different, market failures and will not be solved by one, catch all, solution.

Highlighted article: The Social Cost of Methane

This article deals with the most important climate-forcing gases outside of carbon dioxide: Methane (and dinitrous oxide). Methane accounts for close to half a degree of warming and is – molecule by molecule – much more potent as a climate forcer but there are smaller amounts, and they do not stay in the atmosphere more than a few decades since they get oxidized. The comparison between methane and carbon dioxide is thus very complicated and their relative importance is usually measured by the global warming potential but we show that in fact matters are more complex and depend on the damage function, the scenario, the discount rate and other factors!

Highlighted article: Refunding Emission Payments: Output-Based versus Expenditure-Based Refunding”

Refunding a useful sidekick to environmental taxation?

Nowadays there is much resistance to environmental taxation (like carbon taxes). Some of this is based on a desire not to give money to the state because of practical, distritutional, pragmatic or ideological reasons. One potential solution is to earmark or refund the tax revenues. Scandinavia has some interesting schemes for industrial pollutants (NOX) that we have analyzed.

This paper systematically analyses different kinds of tax refunding to industries. Refunding in proportion to output (which Sweden has for NOx) or in proportion to Abatement investments – which Norway has.

The former makes a very high pollution tax politically feasible. The latter actually makes a really low pollution tax very effective by using refunds to subsidize abatement. In effect it becomes a combined tax and subsidy.

(If you are wondering which is better — it turns out to be a bit complex so read the paper..…)

Hagem, C., Hoel, M., & Sterner, T. (2020). “Refunding Emission Payments: Output-Based versus Expenditure-Based Refunding”Environmental and Resource Economics, 1-27.

Articles by topic.


Design of Environmental Policy Instruments

Fisheries, Ecosystems, Wildlife and other Natural Resource Management

Waste Management and Chemicals

Stated Preference and Environmental Opinion

Development, Resources and Environment

Energy Economics and Policy (Early articles on gasoline pricing and demand!)

  • T. Sterner, L. Flood, N. Islam. (2010). ” Are demand elasticities affected by politically determined tax levels? Simultaneous estimates of gasoline demand and price” Applied Economics Letters, vol. 17, no. 4, pp 325-328
  • Rogat, J. and T. Sterner. (1998). “The determinants of gasoline demand in some Latin American countries” International Journal of Global Energy Issues, vol.11, No. 1-4, pp. 162-170.
  • Sterner, T., C. Dahl and M. Franzén. (1992). “Gasoline Tax Policy, Carbon Emissions and the Environment” Journal of Transport and Economic Policy, Vol. 26, pp 109-119. Also reprinted in Yoshitsugu Hayashi, Kennet Button and Peter Nijkamp eds The Environment and Transport, Edward Elgar.
  • Sterner, T. (1991) “Gasoline demand in the OECD: Choice of model and data set in pooled estimations”, Opec Review, Vol. XV No. 2, pp 91-101.  
  • Dahl, C. and T. Sterner. (1991). “Analyzing Gasoline Demand Elasticities”, Energy Economics, Vol. 13, No. 3, pp 203-210.
  • Dahl, C. and T. Sterner (1991). “A Survey of Econometric Gasoline Demand Elasticities”, International Journal of Energy Systems, Vol. 11, No 2, pp 53-76.
  • Sterner, T. (1990). “Ownership, technology, and efficiency: An empirical study of cooperatives, multinationals, and domestic enterprises in the Mexican cement industry”, Journal of Comparative Economics, Vol. 14, pp 286-300.
  • Katz, K. and T. Sterner (1990). The Value of Clean Air”, Energy Studies Review, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp 39-47.
  • Sterner, T. (1989). “Les Prix de l’energie en Afrique”, Revue de l’Energie, No 415.
  • Sterner, T. (1989). “Factor Demand and Substitution in a Developing Country: Energy use in Mexican Manufacturing’, Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Vol. 91, No. 4, pp 723-739.

Climate Policy