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Stock Prices and the Cost of Environmental Regulation

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  • Joshua Linn

Abstract

Recent environmental regulations have used market incentives to reduce compliance costs and improve efficiency. In most cases, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) selects an emissions cap using the predicted costs of reducing pollution. The EPA and other economists have used a "bottom-up" approach to predict the costs of such regulations, which forecast how every affected firm will respond. It is uncertain whether firms rely on the same predictions in making their compliance decisions. This paper uses stock prices to compare the predictions of the bottom-up studies with those of the affected firms. I focus on a recent tradable permit program, the Nitrogen Oxides Budget Trading Program (NBP). Started in 2004, the NBP requires electric generators in the Midwest and East to reduce their emissions or purchase permits from other firms. I compare utilities’ stock prices with the prices that would have occurred in the absence of the new regulation. I make this comparison by exploiting variation in the location of generators owned by utilities; the control group consists of utilities without any generators in the NBP. I estimate that investors expected the program to reduce profits by about $2 billion per year (2000 dollars). Investors expected the NBP to primarily affect coal generators, which have larger baseline emission rates than other fossil fuel generators. These results agree with previous studies that used the bottom-up approach.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research in its series Working Papers with number 0611.

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Date of creation: Apr 2006
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Handle: RePEc:mee:wpaper:0611

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  1. Carlson, Curtis & Burtraw, Dallas & Cropper, Maureen & Palmer, Karen L., 1998. "Sulfur dioxide control by electric utilities : what are the gains from trade?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1966, The World Bank.
  2. Salinger, Michael, 1992. "Standard Errors in Event Studies," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 27(01), pages 39-53, March.
  3. Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen & Krupnick, Alan & Evans, David & Toth, Russell, 2005. "Economics of Pollution Trading for SO2 and NOx," Discussion Papers dp-05-05, Resources For the Future.
  4. Krupnick, Alan & McConnell, Virginia & Stoessell, Terrell & Cannon, Matthew & Batz, Michael, 2000. "Cost-Effective NOx Control in the Eastern United States," Discussion Papers dp-00-18, Resources For the Future.
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Cited by:
  1. Managi, Shunsuke & Managi, Shunsuke & Okimoto, Tatsuyoshi, 2013. "Does the price of oil interact with clean energy prices in the stock market?," MPRA Paper 46067, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Veith, Stefan & Werner, Jörg R. & Zimmermann, Jochen, 2009. "Capital market response to emission rights returns: Evidence from the European power sector," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 605-613, July.
  3. Fabio Iraldo & Francesco Testa & Vlasis Oikonomou & Michela Melis & Marco Frey & Eise Spijker, 2009. "A literature review on the links between environmental regulation and competitiveness," Working Papers 200904, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna of Pisa, Istituto di Management.

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