Working Paper

Can Panel Data Methodologies Determine the Impact of Climate Change on Economic Growth?

Working Paper Series By

Download paper

Some cautionary remarks

Several major papers have been published over the last ten years claiming to have detected the impact of either annual variations in weather or climate change on the GDPs of most countries in the world using panel data-based statistical methodologies. These papers rely on various multivariate regression equations which include the annual average temperatures for most countries in the world as one or more of the independent variables, where the usual dependent variable is the change in annual GDP for each country from one year to the next year over 30-50 year time periods. Unfortunately, the quantitative estimates derived in these papers are misleading because the equations from which they are calculated are wrong. The major reason the resulting regression equations are wrong is because they do not include any of the appropriate and usual economic factors or variables which are likely to be able to explain changes in GDP/economic growth whether or not climate change has already impacted each country’s economy. These equations, in short, suffer from “omitted variable bias,” to use statistical terminology.