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Costs of alternative environmental policy instruments in the presence of industry compensation requirements

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  • Bovenberg, A. Lans
  • Goulder, Lawrence H.
  • Jacobsen, Mark R.

Abstract

This paper explores how the costs of meeting given aggregate targets for pollution emissions change with the imposition of the requirement that key pollution-related industries be compensated for potential losses of profit from the pollution regulation. We apply a numerically solved general equilibrium model to compare the incidence and costs of emissions taxes, fuel (intermediate input) taxes, performance standards and mandated technologies in the absence and presence of this compensation requirement. Compensation is provided either through industry tax credits or industry-specific cuts in capital tax rates. We analyze the added costs from the compensation requirement in terms of (1) an increase in "intrinsic abatement cost," reflecting a lowered efficiency of pollution abatement, and (2) a "lump-sum compensation cost" that captures the efficiency costs of financing the compensation. The compensation requirement affects these components differently, depending on the policy instrument involved and the required extent of pollution abatement. As a result, it can change the cost rankings of the different instruments. In particular, when compensation is provided through lump-sum tax credits, the lump-sum compensation cost is higher under the emissions tax than under the command-and-control policies (performance standards and mandated technologies) -- a reflection of the higher compensation requirements under the emissions tax. When the required pollution reduction is modest, imposing the compensation requirement causes the emissions tax to lose its status as the least costly instrument and to become more costly than command-and-control policies. In contrast, when required abatement is extensive, the emissions tax again becomes the most cost-effective instrument because of its advantages in terms of lower intrinsic abatement cost.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 92 (2008)
Issue (Month): 5-6 (June)
Pages: 1236-1253

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:92:y:2008:i:5-6:p:1236-1253

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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References

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  1. Jorgenson, Dale W. & Wilcoxen, Peter J., 1993. "Reducing US carbon emissions: an econometric general equilibrium assessment," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 7-25, March.
  2. A. Lans Bovenberg & Lawrence H. Goulder & Derek J. Gurney, 2005. "Efficiency Costs of Meeting Industry-Distributional Constraints Under Environmental Permits and Taxes," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(4), pages 950-970, Winter.
  3. Don Fullerton & Garth Heutel, 2010. "The General Equilibrium Incidence of Environmental Mandates," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 64-89, August.
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  7. Ian W.H. Parry & Wallace E. Oates, 2000. "Policy analysis in the presence of distorting taxes," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(4), pages 603-613.
  8. Farrow, Scott, 1999. "The duality of taxes and tradable permits: A survey with applications in Central and Eastern Europe," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(04), pages 519-535, October.
  9. Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen & Bharvirkar, Ranjit & Paul, Anthony, 2002. "The Effect on Asset Values of the Allocation of Carbon Dioxide Emission Allowances," Discussion Papers dp-02-15-, Resources For the Future.
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  11. Victor R. Fuchs & Alan B. Krueger & James M. Poterba, 1998. "Economists' Views about Parameters, Values, and Policies: Survey Results in Labor and Public Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1387-1425, September.
  12. A. Lans Bovenberg & Lawrence H. Goulder, 2000. "Neutralizing the Adverse Industry Impacts of CO2 Abatement Policies: What Does it Cost?," NBER Working Papers 7654, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Robert Chirinko & Steven M. Fazzari & Andrew P. Meyer, 2002. "That Elusive Elasticity: A Long-panel Approach to Estimating the Price Sensitivity of Business Capital," Emory Economics 0202, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
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  15. Fullerton, Don & Heutel, Garth, 2007. "The general equilibrium incidence of environmental taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 571-591, April.
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