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The Effect of Allowance Allocations on Cap-and-Trade System Performance

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  • Robert W. Hahn
  • Robert N. Stavins

Abstract

An implication of the Coase theorem is that under certain conditions, the market equilibrium in a cap-and-trade system will be cost-effective and independent of the initial allocation of tradable rights. That is, the overall cost of achieving a given aggregate emission reduction will be minimized, and the final allocation of permits will be independent of the initial allocation. We call this the independence property. This property is important because it means that the government can establish the overall pollution reduction goal for a cap-and-trade system by setting the cap and leaving it up to the legislature to construct a constituency in support of the program by allocating the allowances to various interests without affecting either the environmental performance of the system or its aggregate social costs. We examine the conditions under which the independence property is likely to hold—both in theory and in practice.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal The Journal of Law and Economics.

Volume (Year): 54 (2011)
Issue (Month): S4 ()
Pages: S267 - S294

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:doi:10.1086/661942

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  1. > Environmental and Natural Resource Economics > Climate economics > Policy instruments
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Cited by:
  1. Gabriel Chan & Robert Stavins & Robert Stowe & Richard Sweeney, 2012. "The SO2 Allowance Trading System and the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990: Reflections on Twenty Years of Policy Innovation," Working Papers 2012.06, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  2. Pahle, Michael & Fan, Lin & Schill, Wolf-Peter, 2011. "How emission certificate allocations distort fossil investments: The German example," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 1975-1987, April.
  3. Richard Schmalensee & Robert Stavins, 2012. "The SO2 Allowance Trading System: The Ironic History of a Grand Policy Experiment," NBER Working Papers 18306, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Nicole A. MATHYS & Jaime de MELO, 2011. "The Political Economy of Climate Change Policies: Political Economy Aspects of Climate Change Mitigation Efforts," Working Papers P24, FERDI.
  5. Christos Constantatos & Eleftherios Filippiadis & Eftichios Sartzetakis, 2014. "Using the allocation of emission permits for strategic trade purposes," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 259-280, June.
  6. Yoshifumi Konishi & Nori Tarui, 2013. "Intra-Industry Reallocations and Long-run Impacts of Environmental Regulations," Working Papers 201307, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  7. Miola, A. & Marra, M. & Ciuffo, B., 2011. "Designing a climate change policy for the international maritime transport sector: Market-based measures and technological options for global and regional policy actions," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(9), pages 5490-5498, September.
  8. Wang, Qiang & Chen, Xi, 2013. "Rethinking and reshaping the climate policy: Literature review and proposed guidelines," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 469-477.
  9. Sebastian Goers & Alexander Wagner & Jürgen Wegmayr, 2010. "New and old market-based instruments for climate change policy," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 12(1), pages 1-30, June.
  10. Konishi, Yoshifumi & Tarui, Nori, 2014. "Emissions Trading, Firm Heterogeneity, and Intra-Industry Reallocations in the Long Run," CEI Working Paper Series 2014-1, Center for Economic Institutions, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.

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