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Contracting for Impure Public Goods: Carbon Offsets and Additionality

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  • Charles Mason
  • Andrew Plantinga

Abstract

Governments contracting with private agents for the provision of an impure public good must contend with agents who would potentially supply the good absent any payments. This additionality problem is centrally important to the use of carbon offsets to mitigate climate change. We analyze optimal contracts for forest carbon, an important offset category. A novel national-scale simulation of the contracts is conducted that uses econometric results derived from micro data. For a 50 million acre increase in forest area, annual government expenditures with optimal contracts are found to be about $4 billion lower compared to costs with a uniform subsidy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16963.

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Date of creation: Apr 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16963

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  1. G. Cornelis van Kooten & Alison Eagle & James Manley & Tara Smolak, 2004. "How Costly are Carbon Offsets? A Meta-Analysis of Forest Carbon Sinks," Working Papers 2004-01, University of Victoria, Department of Economics, Resource Economics and Policy Analysis Research Group.
  2. Arthur van Benthem & Suzi Kerr, 2010. "Optimizing Voluntary Deforestation Policy in the Face of Adverse Selection and Costly Transfers," Working Papers 10_04, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
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Cited by:
  1. Cho, Seong-Hoon & Kim, Heeho & Roberts, Roland K. & Kim, Taeyoung & Lee, Daegoon, 2014. "Effects of changes in forestland ownership on deforestation and urbanization and the resulting effects on greenhouse gas emissions," Journal of Forest Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 93-109.

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