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Clunkers or Junkers? Adverse Selection in a Vehicle Retirement Program

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  • Ryan Sandler

Abstract

Vehicle retirement programs have become popular tools of public policy for reducing pollution. The efficacy of these programs is difficult to measure, as it is difficult to tell how much a vehicle would have polluted otherwise. I estimate that counterfactual using data from a long-running local program in California. I utilize the universe of emissions inspections from the California Smog Check Program to construct vehicle usage histories of retired cars and similar vehicles which did not retire early. I find that the program's cost-effectiveness steadily declined over time because of the depreciation of the vehicle fleet, while adverse selection remained a problem throughout. (JEL D82, Q53, Q58, R48)

Suggested Citation

  • Ryan Sandler, 2012. "Clunkers or Junkers? Adverse Selection in a Vehicle Retirement Program," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 253-281, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:4:y:2012:i:4:p:253-81
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.4.4.253
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Nicholas J. Sanders & Ryan Sandler, 2017. "Technology and the Effectiveness of Regulatory Programs Over Time: Vehicle Emissions and Smog Checks with a Changing Fleet," NBER Working Papers 23966, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Christopher R. Knittel & Ryan Sandler, 2013. "The Welfare Impact of Indirect Pigouvian Taxation: Evidence from Transportation," NBER Working Papers 18849, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Paul J. Burke, 2016. "Undermined by Adverse Selection: Australia's Direct Action Abatement Subsidies," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 35(3), pages 216-229, September.
    4. Mark Hoekstra & Steven L. Puller & Jeremy West, 2017. "Cash for Corollas: When Stimulus Reduces Spending," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 1-35, July.
    5. Anna Alberini, Will Gans, and Charles Towe, 2016. "Free Riding, Upsizing, and Energy Efficiency Incentives in Maryland Homes," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1).
    6. Werner Antweiler & Sumeet Gulati, 2013. "Market-Based Policies for Green Motoring in Canada," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 39(s2), pages 81-94, August.
    7. Alberini, Anna & Bigano, Andrea, 2015. "How effective are energy-efficiency incentive programs? Evidence from Italian homeowners," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(S1), pages 76-85.
    8. Antweiler, Werner & Gulati, Sumeet, 2015. "Scrapping for clean air: Emissions savings from the BC SCRAP-IT program," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 198-214.
    9. Anna Alberini & Markus Bareit & Adan Martinez-Cruz & Massimo Filippini, 2016. "The Impact of Emissions-Based Taxes on the Retirement of Used and Inefficient Vehicles: The Case of Switzerland," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 16/257, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • R48 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government Pricing and Policy

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