Laura Beaudin

Date of Award

Fall 2013

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Ju-Chin Huang


Debates on climate change have conceded to most parties acknowledging the existence of negative impacts of changing weather patterns. However, these impacts have not fully been assessed. One way which changing climates can negatively impact an economy is by changing the market structures of its most influential industries; making these markets more imperfectly competitive and taking value away from consumers. This dissertation draws on this fact and suggests accurate ways to both identify and quantify the costs of climate change.

In the first chapter of this dissertation, the ski industry is used as a case study. A unique data set along with the econometric technique of discrete time survival analysis is used to estimate the impact of weather on the survival of ski areas over time. Results suggest that changing weather patterns have been an influential factor in the closure of many ski areas throughout the region. For this reason, the ski industry has become much less competitive allowing ski area managers to increase the price of their lift tickets over their marginal costs.

The second chapter builds off the first to show that since many of the industries which are vulnerable to climate change are imperfectly competitive in nature, there is a need to more precise theoretical techniques of valuing non-market, climate related goods in these industries in which firms can artificially increase the price. Huang (2013) builds off of Feenstra (1995) and adapts the traditional hedonic valuation method to account for imperfect competition in the market. The theoretical technique is discussed and employed against current approaches to show its feasibility in measuring the true value of goods which are marked up when firms enjoy market power.

Together the two chapters of this dissertation develop a strategy for increased precision in the measurement of the costs of climate change. By first identifying vulnerable industries with the econometric techniques used in chapter one and then estimating the value of the climate related goods in these industries with the model presented in chapter two, researchers could determine important factors which have the ability to influence policy debates on climate change.