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Emissions Trading with Shares and Coupons when Control over Discharges is Uncertain

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  • Stuart Mestelman
  • Andrew Muller

Abstract

Two important decisions in designing markets for tradable emissions permits are whether to allow banking of permits (coupons) and whether to allow trading in entitlements to future permits (shares). Banking is predicted to reduce price instability when firms trade in a reconciliation market after the quantity of emissions has been determined. Tradable shares are a common feature in proposals for emissions trading in Canada. We conduct a laboratory experiment to investigate how bankable coupons and tradable shares affect efficiency and prices under uncertainty. Cognitive demands on the subjects are reduced by computerized advice on the optimal allocation of coupons across periods and the implied marginal values of coupons and shares. Banking, share trading and uncertainty conditions are introduced in a complete factorial design with three observations per cell. High efficiencies are observed across all treatments. Uncertainty in the control of emissions leads to substantial price instability when banking is not allowed. Banking virtually eliminates the instability, but reduces the efficiency of the market institution. Share trading reduces trading volumes, increases price stability and improves efficiency.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by McMaster University in its series McMaster Experimental Economics Laboratory Publications with number 1997-01.

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Length: 23 pages
Date of creation: Jan 1997
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mcm:mceelp:1997-01

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  1. Cropper, Maureen L & Oates, Wallace E, 1992. "Environmental Economics: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(2), pages 675-740, June.
  2. Hahn, Robert W, 1989. "Economic Prescriptions for Environmental Problems: How the Patient Followed the Doctor's Orders," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 95-114, Spring.
  3. Ledyard, John O. & Szakaly, Kristin E., . "Designing Organizations for Trading Pollution Rights," Working Papers 838, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  4. R. Andrew Muller & Stuart Mestelman, 1994. "Emission Trading with Shares and Coupons: A Laboratory Experiment," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 185-211.
  5. Cason, Timothy N. & Plott, Charles R., 1996. "EPA's New Emissions Trading Mechanism: A Laboratory Evaluation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 133-160, March.
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