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Offsetting versus Mitigation Activities to Reduce CO2 Emissions: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis for the U.S. and Germany

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Abstract

This paper studies the voluntary provision of public goods that is partially driven by a desire to offset for individual polluting activities. We first extend existing theory and show that offsets allow a reduction in effective environmental pollution levels while not necessarily extending the consumption of a polluting good. We further show a nonmonotonic income-pollution relationship and derive comparative static results for the impact of an increasing environmental preference on purchases of offsets and mitigation activities. Several theoretical results are then econometrically tested using a novel data set on activities to reduce CO2 emissions for the case of vehicle purchases in the U.S. and Germany. We show that an increased environmental preference triggers the use of CO2 offsetting and mitigation channels in both countries. However, we find strong country differences for the purchase of CO2 offsets. While such activities are already triggered by a high general awareness of the climate change problem in the U.S., driver’s license holders in Germany need to additionally perceive road traffic as being responsible for CO2 emissions to a large extent.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich in its series CER-ETH Economics working paper series with number 12/161.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: May 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eth:wpswif:12-161

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Keywords: public good; voluntary provision; climate change; CO2 offsetting; vehicle purchase; discrete choice models;

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  1. Andreoni, James & Levinson, Arik, 2001. "The simple analytics of the environmental Kuznets curve," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 269-286, May.
  2. Akter, Sonia & Brouwer, Roy & Brander, Luke & van Beukering, Pieter, 2009. "Respondent uncertainty in a contingent market for carbon offsets," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 68(6), pages 1858-1863, April.
  3. Keane, Michael P, 1994. "A Computationally Practical Simulation Estimator for Panel Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 62(1), pages 95-116, January.
  4. Borsch-Supan, Axel & Hajivassiliou, Vassilis A., 1993. "Smooth unbiased multivariate probability simulators for maximum likelihood estimation of limited dependent variable models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 347-368, August.
  5. White, Halbert, 1982. "Maximum Likelihood Estimation of Misspecified Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 1-25, January.
  6. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
  7. MacKerron, George J. & Egerton, Catrin & Gaskell, Christopher & Parpia, Aimie & Mourato, Susana, 2009. "Willingness to pay for carbon offset certification and co-benefits among (high-)flying young adults in the UK," Energy Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 1372-1381, April.
  8. Matthew J. Kotchen, 2007. "Voluntary Provision of Public Goods for Bads: A Theory of Environmental Offsets," NBER Working Papers 13643, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Blasch, Julia & Farsi, Mehdi, 2012. "Retail demand for voluntary carbon offsets – a choice experiment among Swiss consumers," MPRA Paper 41259, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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