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When to Pollute, When to Abate? Intertemporal Permit Use in the Los Angeles NOx Market

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  • Stephen P. Holland
  • Michael Moore

Abstract

Intertemporal tradability allows an emissions market to reduce abatement costs. We study intertemporal trading of nitrogen oxides permits in the RECLAIM program in Southern California. A theoretical model captures the program's key intertemporal features: two overlapping permit cycles, two compliance cycles for facilities, and tradable permits. We characterize the competitive equilibrium; show that it is cost effective; and demonstrate the firms' incentive to delay abatement, i.e., to trade intertemporally. Using model extensions to explore market design issues, an arbitrage condition implies that the equilibrium is invariant to overlapping compliance cycles, but depends crucially on overlapping permit cycles. We empirically investigate intertemporal trading of permits using panel data on RECLAIM facilities for 1994-2006. Facilities undertake trading by using a considerable proportion of permits of the opposite cycle. We econometrically test two theoretical propositions -- delayed abatement and trading across cycles -- with a difference-in-differences estimator. The results neither contradict nor provide conclusive support of the theory.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14254.

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Date of creation: Aug 2008
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Publication status: published as Stephen P. Holland & Michael R. Moore, 2012. "When to Pollute, When to Abate? Intertemporal Permit Use in the Los Angeles NOx Market," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 88(2), pages 275-299.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14254

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  1. Lata Gangadharan, 2004. "Analysis of prices in tradable emission markets: an empirical study of the regional clean air incentives market in Los Angeles," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(14), pages 1569-1582.
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    • Ellerman,A. Denny & Joskow,Paul L. & Schmalensee,Richard & Montero,Juan-Pablo & Bailey,Elizabeth M., 2000. "Markets for Clean Air," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521660839, October.
  4. Paul L. Joskow, 2001. "California's Electricity Crisis," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(3), pages 365-388.
  5. Schennach, Susanne M., 2000. "The Economics of Pollution Permit Banking in the Context of Title IV of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 189-210, November.
  6. Paul L. Joskow & Edward Kohn, 2002. "A Quantitative Analysis of Pricing Behavior in California's Wholesale Electricity Market During Summer 2000," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 1-35.
  7. Dale A. Carlson & Anne M. Sholtz, 1994. "Designing Pollution Market Instruments: Cases Of Uncertainty," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 12(4), pages 114-125, October.
  8. Kling, Catherine & Rubin, Jonathan, 1997. "Bankable permits for the control of environmental pollution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 101-115, April.
  9. Lata Gangadharan, 2000. "Transaction Costs in Pollution Markets: An Empirical Study," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 76(4), pages 601-614.
  10. Scott Lee Johnson & David M. Pekelney, 1996. "Economic Assessment of the Regional Clean Air Incentives Market: A New Emissions Trading Program for Los Angeles," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 72(3), pages 277-297.
  11. Joskow, Paul L & Schmalensee, Richard & Bailey, Elizabeth M, 1998. "The Market for Sulfur Dioxide Emissions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 669-85, September.
  12. Reimund Schwarze & Peter Zapfel, 2000. "Sulfur Allowance Trading and the Regional Clean Air Incentives Market: A Comparative Design Analysis of two Major Cap-and-Trade Permit Programs?," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 17(3), pages 279-298, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Stephen P. Holland & Michael R. Moore, 2012. "Market Design in Cap and Trade Programs: Permit Validity and Compliance Timing," NBER Working Papers 18098, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Burtraw, Dallas & Szambelan, Sarah Jo, 2009. "U.S. Emissions Trading Markets for SO2 and NOx," Discussion Papers dp-09-40, Resources For the Future.
  3. Meredith Fowlie & Stephen P. Holland & Erin T. Mansur, 2009. "What Do Emissions Markets Deliver and to Whom? Evidence from Southern California's NOx Trading Program," NBER Working Papers 15082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Moore, Michael R. & Lewis, Geoffrey McD. & Cepela, Daniel J., 2010. "Markets for renewable energy and pollution emissions: Environmental claims, emission-reduction accounting, and product decoupling," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(10), pages 5956-5966, October.
  5. Thijs Jong & Oscar Couwenberg & Edwin Woerdman, 2013. "Does the EU ETS Bite? The Impact of Allowance Over-Allocation on Share Prices," RSCAS Working Papers 2013/54, European University Institute.

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