Nobel Winning Economics, Nature Research and Open Science

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Oct 10, 2018
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On Monday, 8 October, the 2018 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel was awarded to William D. Nordhaus and Paul M. Romer for integrating climate change and technological innovations, respectively, into long-run macroeconomic analysis. The Prize Committee described the contributions of Romer and Nordhaus as both “methodological” and as “having provided fundamental insights into the causes and consequences of technological innovation and climate change.” We have gathered content into a Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences Collection to celebrate Nordhaus’ foundational contributions to climate economics.

Many of the articles in this special collection are published in Nature Climate Change, where economics and the social sciences more broadly have long been core areas for the journal. Notably, Nordhaus’ DICE model helped develop the field of integrated assessment modeling, and Nature Climate Change publishes a fair amount of research in this domain. Some great recent examples representing other integrated assessment modeling traditions include: The threat of political bargaining to climate mitigation in Brazil; Alternative pathways to the 1.5 °C target reduce the need for negative emission technologies; and Macroeconomic impact of stranded fossil fuel assets .

Many other Nature Research journals also encourage economics submissions. For example, Nature Human Behaviour is an obvious home for behavioural economics (See a Behavioural Economics collection from the journal marking last year’s award). It is worth mentioning that “Contagious disruptions and complexity traps in economic development” published in the journal in 2017 endeavored to understand how technological change contributes to economic growth  – the very question at the center of Romer’s 1990 paper “Endogenous Technological Change”. Although this is only one example, I expect more research on these core economic questions to be published in Nature Research journals in the future.

In addition to contributing to knowledge about climate change, Nordhaus’ DICE/RICE models have long been available to the public. It is partially this accessibility and transparency that has made these models the workhorse of climate economics, but also made critiques and model extensions possible (https://www.nature.com/articles/nclimate1509). As a matter of policy, we ask authors to provide a Data and Code Availability Statement and encourage them to make these resources available on public repositories. A great example of how to provide transparency and accessibility for a paper published with us can be found here (https://country-level-scc.github.io/) for none other than the recent climate economics paper “Country-level social cost of carbon”.   

Go to the profile of Adam Yeeles

Adam Yeeles

Editor, Nature Climate Change

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