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Environmental policy à la carte: Letting firms choose their regulation

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  • Krysiak, Frank C.
  • Oberauner, Iris Maria

Abstract

Under uncertainty, the optimal choice between price and quantity instruments depends on the technology of the regulated firms, which is often private information. We consider an environmental policy that delegates the prices-versus-quantities decision to the firms by offering them the choice between an emissions tax and permit trading. Such an approach is currently used in Swiss climate policy. We provide a detailed characterization of the optimal policy and show that this approach reduces expected social costs compared to a pure tax or permit-trading regime. We demonstrate that an optimal allocation of firms to instruments can be achieved despite substantial informational constraints, and that all firms gain from the introduction of the instrument choice compared to optimally designed single-instrument policies. Furthermore, we discuss the conditions under which this approach is likely to be preferable to a hybrid regulation.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Environmental Economics and Management.

Volume (Year): 60 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (November)
Pages: 221-232

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:60:y:2010:i:3:p:221-232

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622870

Related research

Keywords: Environmental policy Asymmetric information Screening Uncertainty Prices-versus-quantities;

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References

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  1. Montero, Juan-Pablo, 2000. "Optimal design of a phase-in emissions trading program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 273-291, February.
  2. Krysiak, Frank C., 2008. "Prices vs. quantities: The effects on technology choice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1275-1287, June.
  3. Pizer, William & Newell, Richard, 1998. "Regulating Stock Externalities Under Uncertainty," Discussion Papers dp-99-10-rev, Resources For the Future.
  4. Moledina, Amyaz A. & Coggins, Jay S. & Polasky, Stephen & Costello, Christopher, 2003. "Dynamic environmental policy with strategic firms: prices versus quantities," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 45(2, Supple), pages 356-376, March.
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  6. Richard Newell & William Pizer & Jiangfeng Zhang, 2005. "Managing Permit Markets to Stabilize Prices," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 31(2), pages 133-157, 06.
  7. Livernois, J. & Karp, L., 1992. "Using Automatic Tax Changes to Control Pollution Emissions," Working Papers 1992-12, University of Guelph, Department of Economics and Finance.
  8. Stephen Smith & Joseph Swierzbinski, 2007. "Assessing the performance of the UK Emissions Trading Scheme," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 37(1), pages 131-158, May.
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  11. Frank Krysiak, 2008. "Ex-post efficient permit markets: a detailed analysis," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 39(4), pages 397-410, April.
  12. Unold, Wolfram & Requate, Till, 2001. "Pollution control by options trading," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 353-358, December.
  13. Segerson, Kathleen, 1988. "Uncertainty and incentives for nonpoint pollution control," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 87-98, March.
  14. Collinge, Robert A. & Bailey, Martin J., 1983. "Optimal quasi-market choice in the presence of pollution externalities," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 221-232, September.
  15. Weitzman, Martin L, 1974. "Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(4), pages 477-91, October.
  16. John G. Riley, 2001. "Silver Signals: Twenty-Five Years of Screening and Signaling," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 432-478, June.
  17. Roberton Williams, 2002. "Prices vs. Quantities vs. Tradable Quantities," NBER Working Papers 9283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Kwerel, Evan, 1977. "To Tell the Truth: Imperfect Information and Optimal Pollution Control," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 595-601, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Wood, Peter J. & Heindl, Peter & Jotzo, Frank & Löschel, Andreas, 2013. "Linking price and quantity pollution controls under uncertainty," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-025, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  2. Halvor Briseid Storrøsten, 2012. "Prices vs. quantities: Technology choice, uncertainty and welfare," Discussion Papers 677, Research Department of Statistics Norway.

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