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The Effects of Regulation in the Presence of Multiple Unpriced Externalities: Evidence from the Transportation Sector

  • Antonio Bento
  • Daniel Kaffine
  • Kevin Roth
  • Matthew Zaragoza-Watkins

In transportation systems with unpriced congestion, allowing single-occupant low-emission vehicles in high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes to encourage their adoption exacerbates congestion costs for carpoolers. The resulting welfare effects of the policy are negative, with environmental benefits overwhelmingly dominated by the increased congestion costs. Exploiting the introduction of the Clean Air Vehicle Stickers policy in California with a regression discontinuity design, our results imply a best-case cost of $124 per ton of reductions in greenhouse gases, $606,000 per ton of nitrogen oxides reduction, and $505,000 per ton of hydrocarbon reduction, exceeding those of other options readily available to policymakers.

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 6 (2014)
Issue (Month): 3 (August)
Pages: 1-29

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:6:y:2014:i:3:p:1-29
Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.6.3.1
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  1. Gallagher, Kelly Sims & Muehlegger, Erich, 2011. "Giving green to get green? Incentives and consumer adoption of hybrid vehicle technology," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 1-15, January.
  2. Kenneth A. Small & Kurt Van Dender, 2007. "Fuel Efficiency and Motor Vehicle Travel: The Declining Rebound Effect," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 25-52.
  3. Diamond, David, 2009. "The impact of government incentives for hybrid-electric vehicles: Evidence from US states," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 972-983, March.
  4. Gilles Duranton & Matthew A. Turner, 2009. "The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion: Evidence from US cities," NBER Working Papers 15376, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Hymel, Kent M. & Small, Kenneth A. & Dender, Kurt Van, 2010. "Induced demand and rebound effects in road transport," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 44(10), pages 1220-1241, December.
  6. Maximilian Auffhammer & Ryan Kellogg, 2011. "Clearing the Air? The Effects of Gasoline Content Regulation on Air Quality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2687-2722, October.
  7. Kenneth A. Small & Clifford Winston & Jia Yan, 2005. "Uncovering the Distribution of Motorists' Preferences for Travel Time and Reliability," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(4), pages 1367-1382, 07.
  8. Ian W. H. Parry & Margaret Walls & Winston Harrington, 2007. "Automobile Externalities and Policies," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(2), pages 373-399, June.
  9. Small, Kenneth A. & Kazimi, Camilla, 1995. "On the Costs of Air Pollution from Motor Vehicles," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt0sx81025, University of California Transportation Center.
  10. Nicholas E. Burger & Daniel T. Kaffine, 2009. "Gas Prices, Traffic, and Freeway Speeds in Los Angeles," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(3), pages 652-657, August.
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