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Strategic Policy Choice in State-Level Regulation: The EPA's Clean Power Plan

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  • James B. Bushnell
  • Stephen P. Holland
  • Jonathan E. Hughes
  • Christopher R. Knittel

Abstract

The EPA's Clean Power Plan sets goals for CO2 emissions rate reductions by 2030 that vary substantially across states. States can choose the regulatory mechanism they use and whether or not to join with other states in implementing their goals. We analyze incentives to adopt rate standards versus cap-and-trade with theory and simulation. We show conditions where adoption of inefficient rate standards is a dominant strategy from both consumers' and generators' perspectives. Numerical simulations of the western electricity system highlight incentives for uncoordinated policies that lower welfare and increase emissions relative to coordination.

Suggested Citation

  • James B. Bushnell & Stephen P. Holland & Jonathan E. Hughes & Christopher R. Knittel, 2017. "Strategic Policy Choice in State-Level Regulation: The EPA's Clean Power Plan," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 57-90, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:9:y:2017:i:2:p:57-90
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.20150237
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    Cited by:

    1. Todd Gerarden & W. Spencer Reeder & James H. Stock, 2016. "Federal Coal Program Reform, the Clean Power Plan, and the Interaction of Upstream and Downstream Climate Policies," NBER Working Papers 22214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Fankhauser, Samuel & Jotzo, Frank, 2017. "Economic growth and development with low-carbon energy," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86850, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Jonathon M. Becker, 2020. "Tradable performance standards in a dynamic context," Working Papers 2020-03, Colorado School of Mines, Division of Economics and Business.
    4. Tatyana Deryugina & Alexander MacKay & Julian Reif, 2020. "The Long-Run Dynamics of Electricity Demand: Evidence from Municipal Aggregation," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 86-114, January.
    5. Ibanez, Marcela & Blackman, Allen, 2015. "Environmental and Economic Impacts of Growing Certified Organic Coffee in Colombia," Discussion Papers dp-15-02, Resources For the Future.
    6. Palmer, Karen & Paul, Anthony, 2015. "A Primer on Comprehensive Policy Options for States to Comply with the Clean Power Plan," Discussion Papers dp-15-15, Resources For the Future.
    7. Siddiqui, Afzal S. & Tanaka, Makoto & Chen, Yihsu, 2019. "Sustainable transmission planning in imperfectly competitive electricity industries: Balancing economic and environmental outcomes," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 275(1), pages 208-223.
    8. Jeffrey C. Peters & Thomas W. Hertel, 2017. "Achieving the Clean Power Plan 2030 CO2 Target with the New Normal in Natural Gas Prices," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 5).
    9. James B. Bushnell & Stephen P. Holland & Jonathan E. Hughes & Christopher R. Knittel, 2017. "Strategic Policy Choice in State-Level Regulation: The EPA's Clean Power Plan," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 57-90, May.
    10. Brown, Marilyn A. & Kim, Gyungwon & Smith, Alexander M. & Southworth, Katie, 2017. "Exploring the impact of energy efficiency as a carbon mitigation strategy in the U.S," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 249-259.
    11. David M. Newbery & David M. Reiner & Robert A. Ritz, 2018. "When is a carbon price floor desirable?," Working Papers EPRG 1816, Energy Policy Research Group, Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.
    12. Burnett, J. Wesley & Kiesling, L. Lynne, 2019. "Power plant heat-rate efficiency as a regulatory mechanism: Implications for emission rates and levels," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 134(C).
    13. Don Fullerton & Daniel H. Karney, 2018. "Potential State-Level Carbon Revenue Under The Clean Power Plan," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(1), pages 149-166, January.
    14. Harrison Fell & Daniel Kaffine & Daniel Steinberg, 2017. "Energy Efficiency and Emissions Intensity Standards," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(S1), pages 201-226.
    15. Bento, Antonio M. & Garg, Teevrat & Kaffine, Daniel, 2018. "Emissions reductions or green booms? General equilibrium effects of a renewable portfolio standard," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 78-100.
    16. Dallas Burtraw & Karen Palmer & Anthony Paul & Sophie Pan, 2015. "A Proximate Mirror: Greenhouse Gas Rules and Strategic Behavior Under the US Clean Air Act," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 62(2), pages 217-241, October.
    17. Fell, Harrison & Maniloff, Peter, 2018. "Leakage in regional environmental policy: The case of the regional greenhouse gas initiative," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 1-23.
    18. Zhang, Duan & Chen, Yihsu & Tanaka, Makoto, 2018. "On the effectiveness of tradable performance-based standards," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 456-469.
    19. Mar Reguant, 2018. "The Efficiency and Sectoral Distributional Implications of Large-Scale Renewable Policies," NBER Working Papers 24398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Palmer, Karen & Burtraw, Dallas & Paul, Anthony & Yin, Hang, 2017. "Using Production Incentives to Avoid Emissions Leakage," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(S1), pages 45-56.
    21. Svetlana V. Bekareva & Ekaterina N. Meltenisova & J. G. Abo Gsysa, 2017. "Evaluation of the Role of Renewables Consumption on Economic Growth of the U.S. Regions," International Journal of Energy Economics and Policy, Econjournals, vol. 7(2), pages 160-171.
    22. Kyle E. Binder & James W. Mjelde, 2018. "Projecting impacts of carbon dioxide emission reductions in the US electric power sector: evidence from a data-rich approach," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 151(2), pages 143-155, November.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H76 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Other Expenditure Categories
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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