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Trading Efficiency in Water Quality Trading Markets: An Assessment of Trade-Offs

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  • Hugh McDonald

    ()
    (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research)

  • Suzi Kerr

    ()
    (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research)

Abstract

Declining water quality as a result of increased nutrient leaching is a serious and growing concern, both internationally and in New Zealand. Water pollution issues have traditionally been addressed with command-and-control type regulation, but market-based nutrient trading schemes are becoming more widespread. In New Zealand, a cap-and-trade system has been implemented in Lake Taupo and another has been designed for Lake Rotorua. Despite the importance placed on avoiding transaction costs in water quality trading markets, there has been little discussion in the literature of practical policies to decrease these transaction costs, or any real assessment of when it is and is not optimal to decrease transaction costs. This paper begins to address these issues. We find that strong efforts to control time-of-trade transaction costs are most likely to be worthwhile in schemes with heterogeneous participants and large expected values and volumes of trading. The trading inefficiency that results from search and bargaining, and trade registration costs can be minimised at some cost. Regulators can reduce trade approval costs if they establish baseline leaching levels for all participants and design standardised leaching monitoring systems as part of the set-up of the system, and monitor all sources equally regardless of whether participants trade instead of estimating and approving changes in traders’ leaching at the time of each trade (as occurs in a baseline-and-credit system). Finally we find that while regulators may be tempted to restrict trading or increase measuring and monitoring requirements to increase the environmental certainty of a scheme’s outcome, environmental risk may be better addressed through a less certain but more stringent environmental target.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Motu Economic and Public Policy Research in its series Working Papers with number 11_15.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mtu:wpaper:11_15

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Keywords: water quality markets; transaction costs; nutrient trading markets; trading ratios;

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References

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  1. Juan-Pablo Montero, 1999. "Voluntary Compliance with Market-Based Environmental Policy: Evidence from the U.S. Acid Rain Program," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(5), pages 998-1033, October.
  2. Weitzman, Martin L, 1974. "Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(4), pages 477-91, October.
  3. Solomon, Barry D., 1999. "New directions in emissions trading: the potential contribution of new institutional economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 371-387, September.
  4. Jaffe, Adam B. & Newell, Richard G. & Stavins, Robert N., 2003. "Chapter 11 Technological change and the environment," Handbook of Environmental Economics, in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 461-516 Elsevier.
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  6. Shimshack, Jay P. & Ward, Michael B., 2007. "Enforcement and over-compliance," MPRA Paper 25993, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Krutilla, Kerry & Krause, Rachel, 2011. "Transaction Costs and Environmental Policy: An Assessment Framework and Literature Review," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 4(3–4), pages 261-354, April.
  8. Suzi Kerr & Kit Rutherford, 2008. "Nutrient Trading in Lake Rotorua: Determining Net Nutrient Inputs," Working Papers 08_03, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
  9. Fowlie, Meredith & Perloff, Jeffrey M., 2008. "Distributing Pollution Rights in Cap-and-Trade Programs: Are Outcomes Independent of Allocation?," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt70f62476, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
  10. Nguyen, Nga & Shortle, James S., 2006. "Transactions Costs and Point-Nonpoint Source Water Pollution Trading," 2006 Annual meeting, July 23-26, Long Beach, CA 21096, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  11. Meredith Fowlie & Stephen P. Holland & Erin T. Mansur, 2012. "What Do Emissions Markets Deliver and to Whom? Evidence from Southern California's NOx Trading Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 965-93, April.
  12. Stavins Robert N., 1995. "Transaction Costs and Tradeable Permits," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 133-148, September.
  13. Kelly Lock & Suzi Kerr, 2008. "Nutrient Trading in Lake Rotorua: Choosing the Scope of a Nutrient Trading System," Working Papers 08_05, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
  14. Suzi Kerr & Joanna Hendy & Shuguang Liu & Alexander S. P. Pfaff, 2004. "Tropical Forest Protection, Uncertainty, and the Environmental Integrity of Carbon Mitigation Policies," Working Papers 04_03, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
  15. Kelly Lock & Suzi Kerr, 2008. "Nutrient Trading in Lake Rotorua: Overview of a Prototype System," Working Papers 08_02, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
  16. Stephenson, Kurt & Bosch, Darrell J., 2003. "Nonpoint Source And Carbon Sequestration Credit Trading: What Can The Two Learn From Each Other?," 2003 Annual meeting, July 27-30, Montreal, Canada 22229, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  17. Lata Gangadharan, 2000. "Transaction Costs in Pollution Markets: An Empirical Study," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 76(4), pages 601-614.
  18. Hanna L. Breetz & Karen Fisher-Vanden & Hannah Jacobs & Claire Schary, 2005. "Trust and Communication: Mechanisms for Increasing Farmers’ Participation in Water Quality Trading," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 81(2).
  19. Suzi Kerr & Kelly Lock, 2008. "Nutrient Trading in Lake Rotorua: Cost Sharing and Allowance Allocation," Working Papers 09_09, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
  20. Zhang, Junlian, 2007. "Barriers to water markets in the Heihe River basin in northwest China," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 32-40, January.
  21. R. Prabodanie & John Raffensperger & Mark Milke, 2010. "A Pollution Offset System for Trading Non-Point Source Water Pollution Permits," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 45(4), pages 499-515, April.
  22. Tom Tietenberg, 1995. "Tradeable permits for pollution control when emission location matters: What have we learned?," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 5(2), pages 95-113, March.
  23. McCann, Laura & Colby, Bonnie & Easter, K. William & Kasterine, Alexander & Kuperan, K.V., 2005. "Transaction cost measurement for evaluating environmental policies," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 527-542, March.
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