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An Experimental Study of Auctions Versus Grandfathering to Assign Pollution Permits

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  • Goeree, Jacob K.
  • Holt, Charles A.
  • Palmer, Karen

    ()

  • Shobe, William
  • Burtraw, Dallas

    ()
    (Resources for the Future)

Abstract

We experimentally study auctions versus grandfathering in the initial assignment of pollution permits that can be traded in a secondary spot market. Low and high emitters compete for permits in the auction, while permits are assigned for free under grandfathering. In theory, trading in the spot market should erase inefficiencies due to initial mis-allocations. In the experiment, high emitters exercise market power in the spot market and permit holdings under grandfathering remain skewed towards high emitters. Furthermore, the opportunity costs of “free” permits are fully “passed through.” In the auction, the majority of permits are won by low emitters, reducing the need for spot-market trading. Auctions generate higher consumer surplus and slightly lower product prices in the laboratory arkets. Moreover, auctions eliminate the large “windfall profits” that are observed in the treatment with free, grandfathered permit allocations.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-09-39.

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Date of creation: 29 Sep 2009
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-09-39

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Keywords: market-based regulation; emissions trading; allocation; auctions; grandfathering; climate policy; windfall profits;

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References

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  1. Hahn, Robert W., 1982. "Market Power and Transferable Property Rights," Working Papers 402, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  2. Dallas Burtraw & Jacob Goeree & Charles A. Holt & Erica Myers & Karen Palmer & William Shobe, 2009. "Collusion in auctions for emission permits: An experimental analysis," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(4), pages 672-691.
  3. Matti Liski & Juan-Pablo Montero, 2005. "A Note on Market Power in an Emission Permits Market with Banking," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 31(2), pages 159-173, 06.
  4. Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen & Bharvirkar, Ranjit & Paul, Anthony, 2002. "The Effect on Asset Values of the Allocation of Carbon Dioxide Emission Allowances," Discussion Papers, Resources For the Future dp-02-15-, Resources For the Future.
  5. Roger B. Myerson & Mark A. Satterthwaite, 1981. "Efficient Mechanisms for Bilateral Trading," Discussion Papers 469S, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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Cited by:
  1. Andrea Kollmann & Friedrich Schneider, 2010. "Why Does Environmental Policy in Representative Democracies Tend to Be Inadequate? A Preliminary Public Choice Analysis," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(12), pages 3710-3734, November.
  2. Perkis, David F. & Cason, Timothy N. & Tyner, Wallace E., 2012. "An Experimental Investigation of Hard and Soft Price Ceilings in Emissions Permit Markets," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association 124096, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  3. Veronika Grimm & Lyuba Ilieva, 2013. "An experiment on emissions trading: the effect of different allocation mechanisms," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 308-338, December.
  4. Eva Camacho-Cuena & Till Requate & Israel Waichman, 2012. "Investment Incentives Under Emission Trading: An Experimental Study," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 53(2), pages 229-249, October.
  5. Natalia Fabra & Mar Reguant, 2014. "Pass-Through of Emissions Costs in Electricity Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(9), pages 2872-99, September.
  6. Giuseppe Lopomo & Leslie M. Marx & David McAdams & Brian Murray, 2011. "Carbon Allowance Auction Design: An Assessment of Options for the United States," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 5(1), pages 25-43, Winter.
  7. Natalia Fabra & Mar Reguant, 2013. "Pass-through of Emissions Costs in Electricity Markets," NBER Working Papers 19613, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. David McAdams & Giuseppe Lopomo & Leslie Marx & Brian Murray, . "Carbon Allowance Auction Design: An Assessment of Options for the U.S," Working Papers 10-64, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  9. Markus Wråke & Erica Myers & Dallas Burtraw & Svante Mandell & Charles Holt, 2010. "Opportunity Cost for Free Allocations of Emissions Permits: An Experimental Analysis," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 46(3), pages 331-336, July.
  10. repec:vac:report:rpt13-01 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Löfgren, Åsa & Wråke, Markus & Hagberg, Tomas & Roth, Susanna, 2013. "The Effect of EU-ETS on Swedish Industry's Investment in Carbon Mitigating Technologies," Working Papers in Economics 565, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  12. Noussair, C.N. & Soest, D.P. van, 2014. "Economic Experiments and Environmental Policy: A Review," Discussion Paper, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research 2014-001, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  13. Silvester van Koten, 2014. "Do Emission Trading Schemes Facilitate Efficient Abatement Investments? An Experimental Study," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp503, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague.

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