Equilibrium incentives for adopting cleaner technology under emissions pricing
AbstractPolicymakers sometimes presume that adopting a less polluting technology necessarily improves welfare. This view is generally mistaken. Adopting a cleaner technology is costly, and this cost must be weighed against the technology's benefits in reduced pollution and reduced abatement costs. The literature to date has not satisfactorily examined whether emissions pricing properly internalizes this tradeoff between costs and benefits. And if the trend toward greater use of economic instruments in environmental policy continues, as is likely, the properties of those instruments must be understood, especially for dynamic efficiency. The authors examine incentives for adopting cleaner technologies in response to Pigouvian emissions pricing in equilibrium (unlike earlier analyses, which they contend, have been generally incomplete and at times misleading). Their results indicate that emissions pricing under the standard Pigouvian rule leads to efficient equilibrium adoption of technology under certain circumstances. They show that the equilibrium level of adopting a public innovation is efficient under Pigouvian pricing only if there are enough firms that each firm has a negligible effect on aggregate emissions. When those circumstances are not satisfied, Pigouvian pricing does not induce an efficient (social welfare-maximizing) level of innovation. The potential for inefficiency stems from two problems with the Pigouvian rule. First, the Pigouvian price does not discriminate against each unit of emissions according to its marginal damage. Second, full ratcheting of the emissions price in response to declining marginal damage as firms adopt the cleaner technology is correct expost but distorts incentives for adopting technology ex ante. The next natural step for research is to examine second-best pricing policies or multiple instrument policies. The challenge is to design regulatory policies that go some way toward resolving problems yet are geared to implementation in real regulatory settings. Clearly, such policies must use more instruments than emissions pricing alone. Direct taxes or subsidies for technological change, together with emissions pricing, should give regulators more scope for creating appropriate dynamic incentives. Such instruments are already widely used: investment tax credits (for environmental research and development), accelerated depreciation (for pollution control equipment), and environmental funds (to subsidize the adoption of pollution control equipment). Such direct incentives could be excessive, however, if emissions pricing is already in place. All incentives should be coordinated.
Download InfoIf 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.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1491.
Date of creation: 31 Aug 1995
Date of revision:
Public Health Promotion; Environmental Economics&Policies; Health Monitoring&Evaluation; General Technology; International Terrorism&Counterterrorism; International Terrorism&Counterterrorism; Carbon Policy and Trading; Environmental Economics&Policies; Health Monitoring&Evaluation; General Technology;
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.:
- Requate, Till, 1998. "Incentives to innovate under emission taxes and tradeable permits," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 139-165, February.
- Bohm, Peter & Russell, Clifford S., 1985. "Comparative analysis of alternative policy instruments," Handbook of Natural Resource and Energy Economics, in: A. V. Kneese† & J. L. Sweeney (ed.), Handbook of Natural Resource and Energy Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 10, pages 395-460 Elsevier.
- Milliman, Scott R. & Prince, Raymond, 1989. "Firm incentives to promote technological change in pollution control," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 247-265, November.
- Glenn Jenkins & RANJIT LAMECH, 1992. "Fiscal Policies To Control Pollution: International Experience," Development Discussion Papers 1992-01, JDI Executive Programs.
- J-J. Laffont & J. Tirole, 1994.
"A Note on Environmental Innovation,"
95-10, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Cropper, Maureen L & Oates, Wallace E, 1992. "Environmental Economics: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(2), pages 675-740, June.
- Malueg, David A., 1989. "Emission credit trading and the incentive to adopt new pollution abatement technology," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 52-57, January.
- Downing, Paul B. & White, Lawrence J., 1986. "Innovation in pollution control," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 18-29, March.
- Biglaiser, Gary & Horowitz, John K, 1995. "Pollution Regulation and Incentives for Pollution-Control Research," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(4), pages 663-84, Winter.
- Barnett, A H, 1980. "The Pigouvian Tax Rule under Monopoly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 1037-41, December.
- Lee, Dwight R., 1975. "Efficiency of pollution taxation and market structure," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 69-72, September.
- Raphael Calel, 2011. "Market-based instruments and technology choices: a synthesis," Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment Working Papers 57, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.