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How Should Environmental Policy Respond to Business Cycles? Optimal Policy under Persistent Productivity Shocks

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  • Heutel, Garth

    ()
    (University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics)

Abstract

How should environmental policy respond to economic fluctuations caused by persistent productivity shocks? This paper answers that question using a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium real business cycle model that includes a pollution externality. I first estimate the relationship between the cyclical components of carbon dioxide emissions and US GDP and find it to be inelastic. Using this result to calibrate the model, I find that optimal policy allows carbon emissions to be procyclical: increasing during expansions and decreasing during recessions. However, optimal policy dampens the procyclicality of emissions compared to the unregulated case. A price effect from costlier abatement during booms outweighs an income effect of greater demand for clean air. I also model a decentralized economy, where government chooses an emissions tax or quantity restriction and firms and consumers respond. The optimal emissions tax rate and the optimal emissions quota are both procyclical: during recessions, the tax rate and the emissions quota both decrease.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 11-8.

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Length: 58 pages
Date of creation: 08 Mar 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ris:uncgec:2011_008

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Keywords: Climate change; Environmental policy;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Fischer, Carolyn & Springborn, Michael R., 2009. "Emissions Targets and the Real Business Cycle: Intensity Targets versus Caps or Taxes," Discussion Papers dp-09-47, Resources For the Future.
  2. Garth Heutel & Carolyn Fischer, 2013. "Environmental Macroeconomics: Environmental Policy, Business Cycles, and Directed Technical Change," NBER Working Papers 18794, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Baran Doda, 2013. "Emissions-GDP Relationship in Times of Growth and Decline," Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Working Papers 116, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
  4. Lintunen , Jussi & Vilmi, Lauri, 2013. "On optimal emission control – Taxes, substitution and business cycles," Research Discussion Papers 24/2013, Bank of Finland.
  5. Garth Heutel & Christopher J. Ruhm, 2013. "Air Pollution and Procyclical Mortality," NBER Working Papers 18959, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Yazid Dissou & Lilia Karnizova, 2012. "Emissions Cap or Emissions Tax? A Multi-sector Business Cycle Analysis," Working Papers 1210E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
  7. Flues, Florens & Löschel, Andreas & Lutz, Benjamin Johannes & Schenker, Oliver, 2013. "Ups and downs: How economic growth affects policy interactions," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-066, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  8. Valentina Bosetti & Marco Maffezzoli, 2013. "Taxing Carbon under Market Incompleteness," Working Papers 2013.72, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  9. Konstantinos Angelopoulos & George Economides & Apostolis Philippopoulos, 2013. "First-and second-best allocations under economic and environmental uncertainty," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 20(3), pages 360-380, June.
  10. Baran Doda, 2012. "Evidence on CO2 emissions and business cycles," Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Working Papers 78, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
  11. Dimitrios Varvarigos, 2013. "Economic Growth, Health, and the Choice of Polluting Technologies: The Role of Bureaucratic Corruption," Discussion Papers in Economics 13/22, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
  12. Rhodes, M. Taylor, 2013. "Pigskin, Tailgating and Pollution: Estimating the Environmental Impacts of Sporting Events," Working Papers 13-19, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics.
  13. Barbara Annicchiarico & Fabio di Dio, 2013. "Environmental Policy and Macroeconomic Dynamics in a New Keynesian Model," CEIS Research Paper 286, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 30 Sep 2013.

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