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What Do Emissions Markets Deliver and to Whom? Evidence from Southern California's NOx Trading Program

  • Meredith Fowlie
  • Stephen P. Holland
  • Erin T. Mansur

An advantage of cap-and-trade programs over more prescriptive environmental regulation is that compliance flexibility and cost effectiveness can make more stringent emissions reductions politically feasible. However, when markets (versus regulators) determine where emissions occur, it becomes more difficult to assure that mandated emissions reductions are equitably achieved. We investigate these issues in the context of Southern California's RECLAIM program by matching facilities in RECLAIM with similar California facilities also in nonattainment areas. Our results indicate that average emissions fell 20 percent at RECLAIM facilities relative to our counterfactual. Furthermore, observed changes in emissions do not vary significantly with neighborhood demographic characteristics. (JEL H23, L51, Q53, Q58)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 102 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 965-93

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:102:y:2012:i:2:p:965-93
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  1. Lata Gangadharan, 2000. "Transaction Costs in Pollution Markets: An Empirical Study," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 76(4), pages 601-614.
  2. Nathaniel Keohane & Erin T. Mansur & Andrey Voynov, 2007. "Averting Regulatory Enforcement: Evidence from New Source Review," NBER Working Papers 13512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. H. Spencer Banzhaf & Randall P. Walsh, 2008. "Do People Vote with Their Feet? An Empirical Test of Tiebout," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 843-63, June.
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  13. Stephen P. Holland & Michael Moore, 2008. "When to Pollute, When to Abate? Intertemporal Permit Use in the Los Angeles NOx Market," NBER Working Papers 14254, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  15. Cynthia Morgan & Ronald J. Shadbegian & Wayne B. Gray, 2005. "Benefits and Costs from Sulfur Dioxide Trading: A Distributional Analysis," NCEE Working Paper Series 200509, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Dec 2005.
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