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The Regulation of Nonpoint Emissions in the Laboratory: A Stress Test of the Ambient Tax Mechanism

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  • Francois Cochard
  • Anthony Ziegelmeyer

    ()

  • Kene Boun My

Abstract

We investigate the ability of the damage based tax mechanism to induce socially optimal outcomes in a controlled laboratory environment which incorporates important aspects of nonpoint pollution problems. Our experimental setting combines a strictly convex damage function with uncertainty in measuring the ambient level of pollution, indefinitely repeated interactions among heterogeneous polluters, limited information on the regulator's side about the polluters' profit functions, and, in half of the experimental conditions, limited information on the polluters' side about the strategic environment. We additionally investigate whether the relative position of the social optimum in the polluters’ emission space has an impact on the efficiency of the fiscal instrument. In almost all implemented conditions, the observed total pollution level is not significantly different from the socially optimal level but compliance at the individual level is rarely observed. Experimental conditions in which polluters have to dramatically reduce their emissions in order to comply with the fiscal instrument lead to higher efficiency levels than those where compliance implies less dramatic reductions. Our most striking result is that less information on the polluters' side is beneficial from a social point of view as the performance of the damage based tax mechanism is higher the less information polluters have about the strategic environment.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group in its series Papers on Strategic Interaction with number 2005-37.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:esi:discus:2005-37

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  1. Rassenti, Stephen & Reynolds, Stanley S. & Smith, Vernon L. & Szidarovszky, Ferenc, 2000. "Adaptation and convergence of behavior in repeated experimental Cournot games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 117-146, February.
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  10. François Cochard & Marc Willinger & Anastasios Xepapadeas, 2005. "Efficiency of Nonpoint Source Pollution Instruments: An Experimental Study," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 30(4), pages 393-422, 04.
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  13. Horan, Richard D. & Shortle, James S. & Abler, David G., 1998. "Ambient Taxes When Polluters Have Multiple Choices," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 186-199, September.
  14. Timothy N. Cason & Lata Gangadharan, 2004. "Auction Design for Voluntary Conservation Programs," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1211-1217.
  15. Lars Hansen, 1998. "A Damage Based Tax Mechanism for Regulation of Non-Point Emissions," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 12(1), pages 99-112, July.
  16. Abraham Neyman, 1999. "Cooperation in Repeated Games when the Number of Stages is Not Commonly Known," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(1), pages 45-64, January.
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  19. Cason, Timothy N. & Gangadharan, Lata & Duke, Charlotte, 2003. "A laboratory study of auctions for reducing non-point source pollution," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 446-471, November.
  20. Marks, Melanie B & Croson, Rachel T A, 1999. " The Effect of Incomplete Information in a Threshold Public Goods Experiment," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 99(1-2), pages 103-18, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Reichhuber, Anke & Camacho Cuena, Eva & Requate, Till, 2008. "A Framed Field Experiment on Collective Enforcement Mechanisms with Ethiopian Farmers," Economics Working Papers 2008,11, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
  2. Kene Boun My & Francois Cochard & Anthony Ziegelmeyer, 2007. "On the Acceptability of the Ambient Tax Mechanism: An Experimental Investigation," Jena Economic Research Papers 2007-081, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.

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