- Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment
Cameron Hepburn is Professor of Environmental Economics at the University of Oxford, and Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. He also serves as the Director of the Economics of Sustainability Programme, based at the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School.
Cameron has published widely on energy, resources and environmental challenges across disciplines including engineering, biology, philosophy, economics, public policy and law, drawing on degrees in law and engineering (Melbourne University) and masters and doctorate in economics (Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar). He has co-founded three successful businesses and has provided advice on energy and environmental policy to government ministers (e.g. China, India, UK and Australia) and international institutions (e.g. OECD, UN).
Decision Making Process: Decisions and decision making are central to how people live their everyday lives, to how economic processes and political life unfold and spaces are produced, and to how policy makers seek to intervene in society and the environment. The default position is to assume that decision making is a rational processes in which the most desirable or appropriate course of action is taken, but conventional understandings of decision making, which have a long lineage in western philosophy and economical and political theory, have over the past decades been challenged in a number of ways by thinkers and scholars from a range of academic disciplines. In economics, for instance, there has been a (modest) shift from normative and deductive understandings of decision-making - how decisions should be taken and what should be done - to more descriptively realistic and inductive models - how people actually make decisions. And in geography and social theory it has been argued that decision making is a relational and distributed process rather than the province of self-contained, sovereign subjects. At the same time, developments in the tools and techniques that are used to aid and inform policy making tend to lag behind those in theory and conceptualisation: many continue to be premised on fairly conventional understandings of decision making, although this is gradually starting to change.
This core module engages decision making processes from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. It begins by outlining basic notions about decision making from economic theory in the first session and gradually allows for more complexity in how decision processes unfold. Thus, in subsequent sessions the focus will be broadened to consider: how individuals actually take decisions; decision processes as undertaken by collectives rather than individual agents; how the past and future shape decisions in the present; multiple criteria according to which decision making processes can be considered to be successful or to have failed; how decision making processes are affected by various forms of uncertainty; and how such processes are complicated and sometimes even paralysed by "wicked" problems. The module will pay specific attention to how geographers have engaged with and understood decision making processes, and how decision making processes are implicated in the production of spaces.
Throughout the module theoretical frameworks and ideas are illustrated with the help of case-study examples focused, among others, on issues related to climate change, energy and transport. Close attention is paid to the implications for policy processes of the various aspects of decision making that will be addressed.
Course: MSc in Nature, Society and Environmental Policy
Current Graduate Research Students
The future of incumbent electricity companies in the low-carbon power generation market: an asset-level approach
Stranded assets? Public management of fossil fuel assets in the international system
The role of disclosure in the management of environment-related risks in the investment value chain
How does environmental policy impact firms? Evidence from China
The impact of economic networks on technological change
Recent Graduate Research Students (since 2006)
Completed DPhil in 2018
'Know What?' New lens on productive knowledge shed light on long run development structural change, job switching and the transition to the green economy
Completed DPhil in 2018
The 'decarbonisation identity' and pathways to net-zero: the scale and impact of committed cumulative carbon emissions and stranded assets in the electricity generation sector on the decarbonisation of the economy
For a complete list of publications please visit Prof Hepburn's personal website
- Farmer, J.D., Hepburn, C., Ives, M.C., Hale, T., Wetzer, T., Mealy, P. Rafaty, R., Srivastav, S. and Way, R. (2019) Sensitive intervention points in the post-carbon transition. Science, 364(6436): 132-134.
- Creutzig, F., Roy, J., Lamb, W.F., Azevedo, I.M.L., Bruine de Bruin, W., Dalkmann, H., Edelenbosch, O.Y., Geels, F.W., Grubler, A., Hepburn, C., Hertwich, E., Khosla, R., Mattauch, L., Minx, J.C., Ramakrishnan, A., Rao, N.D., Steinberger, J., Tavoni, M., Urge-Vorsatz, D. and Weber, E.U. (2018) Towards demand-side solutions for mitigating climate change. Nature Climate Change, 8: 268-271.
- Hepburn, C., Pless, J. and Popp, D. (2018) Policy Brief—Encouraging Innovation that Protects Environmental Systems: Five Policy Proposals. Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, 12(1).
- Klenert, D., Mattauch, L., Combet, E., Edenhofer, O., Hepburn, C., Rafaty, R. and Stern, N. (2018) Making carbon pricing work for citizens. Nature Climate Change, 8: 669-677.
- Millar, R.J., Hepburn, C., Beddington, J. and Allen, M. (2018) Principles to guide investment towards a stable climate. Nature Climate Change, 8: 2-4.
- Pfeiffer, A., Hepburn, C., Vogt-Schilb, A. and Caldecott, B. (2018) Committed emissions from existing and planned power plants and asset stranding required to meet the Paris Agreement. Environmental Research Letters, 13(5).
- Garrick, D.E., Hall, J.W., Dobson, A., Damania, R., Grafton, R.Q., Hope, R., Hepburn, C., Bark, R., Boltz, F., De Stefano, L., O'Donnell, E., Matthews, N. and Money, A. (2017) Valuing water for sustainable development. Science, 358(6366): 1003-1005.
- Groom, B. and Hepburn, C. (2017) Reflections - Looking Back at Social Discounting Policy: The Influence of Papers, Presentations, Political Preconditions, and Personalities. Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, 11(2): 336-356.
- Hepburn, C. (2017) Climate change economics: Make carbon pricing a priority. Nature Climate Change, 7: 389-390.
- Hepburn, C. and Teytelboym, A. (2017) Climate change policy after Brexit. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 33(S1): 144-154.
- Victor, D.G., Akimoto, K., Kaya, Y., Yamaguchi, M., Cullenward, D. and Hepburn, C. (2017) Prove Paris was more than paper promises. Nature, 548: 25-27.
- Covington, H., Thornton, J. and Hepburn, C. (2016) Global warming: Shareholders must vote for climate-change mitigation. Nature, 530.
- Hepburn, C., Neuhoff, K., Acworth, W., Burtraw, D. and Jotzo, F. (2016) The Economics of the EU ETS Market Stability Reserve. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 80: 1-5.
- Mattauch, L. and Hepburn, C. (2016) Climate Policy When Preferences Are Endogenous—and Sometimes They Are. Midwest Studies in Philosophy, 40(1): 76-95.
- Pfeiffer, A. and Hepburn, C. (2016) Facing the Challenge of Climate Change. Global Journal of Emerging Market Economies, 8(2): 201-215.
- Pfeiffer, A., Millar, R., Hepburn, C. and Beinhocker, E. (2016) The ‘2°C capital stock’ for electricity generation: Committed cumulative carbon emissions from the electricity generation sector and the transition to a green economy. Applied Energy, 179: 1395-1408.
- Beinhocker, E., Hepburn, C., Farmer, D. and Teytelboym, A. (2015) Resilient and inclusive prosperity within planetary boundaries. China and World Economy, 22(5): 76-92.
- Farmer, J.D., Hepburn, C., Mealy, P. and Teytelboym, A. (2015) A third wave in the economics of climate change. Environmental and Resource Economics, 62(2): 329-357.
- Bowen, A. and Hepburn, C. (2014) Green growth: an assessment. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 30(3): 407-422.
- Hamilton, K. and Hepburn, C. (2014) Wealth. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 30(1): 1-20.
- Thomas, V., Albert, J.R.G. and Hepburn, C. (2014) Contributors to the frequency of intense climate disasters in Asia-Pacific countries. Climatic Change, 126(3-4): 381-398.
- Baptist, S. and Hepburn, C. (2013) Intermediate inputs and economic productivity. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, 371(1986). 20110565.
- Dietz, S. and Hepburn, C. (2013) Benefit–cost analysis of non-marginal climate and energy projects. Energy Economics, 40: 61-71.
- Hepburn, C.J., Quah, J.K.H. and Ritz, R.A. (2013) Emissions trading with profit-neutral permit allocations. Journal of Public Economics, 98: 85-99.
- Chu, B., Duncan, S., Papachristodoulou, A. and Hepburn, C. (2012) Analysis and control design of sustainable policies for greenhouse gas emissions. Applied Thermal Engineering, 53(2): 420-431.
- Helm, D. and Hepburn, C. (2012) The economic analysis of biodiversity: an assessment. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 28(1): 1-21.
- Helm, D., Hepburn, C. and Ruta, G. (2012) Trade, climate change and the political game theory of border carbon adjustments. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 28(2): 368-394.
- Hepburn, C. (2012) The energy mix, carbon pricing and border carbon adjustments. Environmental Law and Management, 24: 177-185.
- Ward, J., Hepburn, C., Anthoff, D., Baptist, S., Gradwell, P., Hope, C. and Krahé, M. (2012) Self-interested low-carbon growth in Brazil, China and India. Global Journal of Emerging Market Economies, 4(3): 291-318.
- Caney, S. and Hepburn, C. (2011) Carbon Trading: Unethical, Unjust and Ineffective? Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement, 69: 201-234.
- Duncan, S., Hepburn, C. and Papachristodoulou, A. (2011) Optimal harvesting of fish stocks under a time-varying discount rate. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 269(1): 166-173.
- Dutton, A.J., Hepburn, C. and Macdonald, D.W. (2011) A Stated Preference Investigation into the Chinese Demand for Farmed vs. Wild Bear Bile. PloS One, 6(7). e21243.
- Hepburn, C. and Ward, J. (2011) Self-interested Low-carbon Growth in G-20 Emerging Markets. Global Journal of Emerging Market Economies, 3(2): 195-222.
- Hepburn, C., Koundouri, P., Panopoulou, E. and Pantelidis, T. (2009) Social discounting under uncertainty: A cross-country comparison. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 57(2): 140-150.
- Dutton, A.J., Gratwicke, B., Hepburn, C., Herrera, E.A. and Macdonald, D.W. (2013) Tackling unsustainable wildlife trade. Chapter 5 in, Macdonald, D.W. and Willis, K.J. (eds.) Key Topics in Conservation Biology 2. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 74-91. ISBN: 9780470658765.
- Hepburn, C. and Bowen, A. (2013) Prosperity with Growth: Economic Growth, Climate Change and Environmental Limits. Chapter 29 in, Fouquet, R. (ed.) Handbook On Energy And Climate Change. Edward Elgar. ISBN: 9780857933683.
- Mattauch, L., Millar, R., van der Ploeg, R., Rezai, A., Schultes, A., Venmans, F., Bauer, N., Dietz, S., Edenhofer, O., Farrell, N., Hepburn, C., Luderer, G., Pless, J., Spuler, F., Stern, N. and Teytelboym, A. (2018) Steering the Climate System: An Extended Comment. CESifo Working Paper No. 7414.
- Farmer, D. and Hepburn, C. (2014) Less Precision, more truth: Uncertainty in climate economics and macroprudential policy. Bank of England interdisciplinary workshop.