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Output subsidies and quotas under uncertainty and firm heterogeneity

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This paper studies the relative efficiency of two kinds of regulations, quantity restrictions (quotas) and output subsidies, in an imperfectly competitive market under the existence of two sources of uncertainty: uncertainty in both costs and prices. We find that when the two sources of uncertainty are independently distributed, the output subsidy instrument has comparative advantage over the quantity instrument. However, when we take into account the possibility of correlation between the random components and across firms marginal costs, we find that a positive (negative) correlation tends to favor the quantity (subsidy) instrument. Finally, we show that when the correlation is positive, it is possible to find situations in which the quantity instrument has comparative advantage over the subsidy instrument.

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Paper provided by Centro de Estudios Andaluces in its series Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces with number E2005/24.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cea:doctra:e2005_24

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Keywords: Cost uncertainty; demand uncertainty; firm heterogeneity; output subsidy and quantity instruments;

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  1. Wu, Junjie, 2000. " Input Substitution and Pollution Control Under Uncertainty and Firm Heterogeneity," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 2(2), pages 273-88.
  2. Malcomson, James M, 1978. "Prices vs. Quantities: A Critical Note on the Use of Approximations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(1), pages 203-07, February.
  3. Stavins, Robert N., 1996. "Correlated Uncertainty and Policy Instrument Choice," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 218-232, March.
  4. Choi, E. Kwan & Johnson, Stanley R., 1987. "Consumer's Surplus and Price Uncertainty," Staff General Research Papers 10601, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  5. Hwang, Hae-Shin & Schulman, Craig T., 1993. "Strategic non-intervention and the choice of trade policy for international oligopoly," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1-2), pages 73-93, February.
  6. Michael Hoel & Larry Karp, 1999. "Taxes and Quotas for a Stock Pollutant with Multiplicative Uncertainty," Working Papers 1999.15, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  7. M. L. Weitzman, 1973. "Prices vs. Quantities," Working papers 106, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. Cooper, Russell & Riezman, Raymond, 1989. "Uncertainty and the Choice of Trade Policy in Oligopolistic Industrie s," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(1), pages 129-40, January.
  9. Brander, James A. & Spencer, Barbara J., 1985. "Export subsidies and international market share rivalry," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1-2), pages 83-100, February.
  10. Arvan, Lanny, 1991. "Flexibility versus commitment in strategic trade policy under uncertainty : A model of endogenous policy leadership," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3-4), pages 341-355, November.
  11. Blair, Benjamin F. & Lewis, Tracy R. & Sappington, David E. M., 1995. "Simple regulatory policies in the presence of demand and cost uncertainty," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 57-73, April.
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