Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Do Lower Prices For Polluting Goods Make Environmental Externalities Worse?


Author Info

  • Brennan, Timothy

    (Resources for the Future)

Registered author(s):


    Lower prices for polluting goods will increase their sales and the pollution that results from their production or use. Conventional intuition suggests that this relationship implies a greater need for environmental policy when prices of "dirty" goods fall. But the economic inefficiency resulting overproduction of polluting goods may fall, not rise, as the cost of producing those goods falls. While lower costs exacerbate overproduction, they also reduce the difference between private benefit and the total social cost--the sum of private and external costs--associated with that overproduction. The author of this paper derives a test, based on readily observed or estimated parameters for conditions in which the latter effect outweighs the former. In such cases, making a dirty good cheaper to produce may reduce the need for pollution policy. This test, with minor modifications, can be applied where the dirty good is not competitive, demand rather than supply drives the increase in output, and abatement in production can reduce pollution. The analysis may speak to whether stricter air pollution regulations should accompany policies to reduce electricity costs by making power generation more competitive.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-99-40.

    as in new window
    Date of creation: 01 May 1999
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-99-40

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page:
    More information through EDIRC

    Related research



    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
    as in new window
    1. Daniel F. Spulber, 1989. "Regulation and Markets," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262192756, December.
    2. Weitzman, Martin L, 1974. "Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(4), pages 477-91, October.
    3. Timothy Brennan, 1996. "Is Cost-of-Service Regulation Worth the Cost?," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(1), pages 25-42.
    4. Bohi, Douglas R. & Burtraw, Dallas, 1992. "Utility investment behavior and the emission trading market," Resources and Energy, Elsevier, vol. 14(1-2), pages 129-153, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as in new window

    Cited by:
    1. Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen, 2005. "The Environmental Impacts of Electricity Restructuring: Looking Back and Looking Forward," Discussion Papers dp-05-07, Resources For the Future.


    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


    Access and download statistics


    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-99-40. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Webmaster).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.