IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Markets for Pollution Allowances: What Are the (New) Lessons?

  • Lawrence H. Goulder
Registered author(s):

    About 45 years ago a few economists offered the novel idea of trading pollution rights as a way of meeting environmental goals. Such trading was touted as a more cost-effective alternative to traditional forms of regulation, such as specific technology requirements or performance standards. The principal form of trading in pollution rights is a cap-and-trade system, whose essential elements are few and simple: first, the regulatory authority specifies the cap—the total pollution allowed by all of the facilities covered by the regulatory program; second, the regulatory authority distributes the allowances, either by auction or through free provision; third, the system provides for trading of allowances. Since the 1980s the use of cap and trade has grown substantially. In this overview article, I consider some key lessons about when cap-and-trade programs work well, when they perform less effectively, how they work compared with other policy options, and how they might need to be modified to address issues that had not been anticipated.

    If 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.

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.27.1.87
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

    Volume (Year): 27 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 1 (Winter)
    Pages: 87-102

    as
    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:27:y:2013:i:1:p:87-102
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.27.1.87
    Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/jep/
    Email:


    More information through EDIRC

    Order Information: Web: https://www.aeaweb.org/subscribe.html

    References listed on IDEAS
    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.:

    as in new window
    1. Parry, Ian & Goulder, Lawrence & Williams III, Roberton, 1997. "When Can Carbon Abatement Policies Increase Welfare? The Fundamental Role of Distorted Factor Markets," Discussion Papers dp-97-18-rev, Resources For the Future.
    2. Weitzman, Martin L, 1974. "Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(4), pages 477-91, October.
    3. Ian W.H. Parry & Roberton C. Williams III, 2010. "What Are the Costs of Meeting Distributional Objectives for Climate Policy?," NBER Working Papers 16486, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Goulder, Lawrence H. & Parry, Ian W. H. & Williams III, Roberton C. & Burtraw, Dallas, 1999. "The cost-effectiveness of alternative instruments for environmental protection in a second-best setting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 329-360, June.
    5. Acemoglu, Daron & Aghion, Philippe & Bursztyn, Leonardo & Hemous, David, 2010. "The Environment and Directed Technical Change," Seminar Papers 762, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
    6. Samuel Fankhauser & Cameron Hepburn & Jisung Park, 2010. "Combining Multiple Climate Policy Instruments: How Not To Do It," Climate Change Economics (CCE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 1(03), pages 209-225.
    7. Goulder, Lawrence H. & Schneider, Stephen H., 1999. "Induced technological change and the attractiveness of CO2 abatement policies," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3-4), pages 211-253, August.
    8. Goulder, Lawrence H. & Hafstead, Marc A.C. & Dworsky, Michael, 2010. "Impacts of alternative emissions allowance allocation methods under a federal cap-and-trade program," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 161-181, November.
    9. Fischer, Carolyn & Newell, Richard, 2004. "Environmental and Technology Policies for Climate Mitigation," Discussion Papers dp-04-05, Resources For the Future.
    10. A.L. Bovenberg & Lawrence H. Goulder & Derek J. Gurney, 2003. "Efficiency Costs of Meeting Industry-Distributional Constraints under Environmental Permits and Taxes," NBER Working Papers 10059, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Stavins Robert N., 1995. "Transaction Costs and Tradeable Permits," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 133-148, September.
    12. Montgomery, W. David, 1972. "Markets in licenses and efficient pollution control programs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 395-418, December.
    13. Ragnar Arnason, 2012. "Property Rights in Fisheries: How Much Can Individual Transferable Quotas Accomplish?," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 6(2), pages 217-236, July.
    14. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521196475 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Foster, Vivien & Hahn, Robert W, 1995. "Designing More Efficient Markets: Lessons from Los Angeles Smog Control," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(1), pages 19-48, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:27:y:2013:i:1:p:87-102. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros)

    or (Michael P. Albert)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.