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The Effects of Rent Seeking over Tradable Pollution Permits

Author

Listed:
  • Hanley Nick

    (University of Stirling)

  • MacKenzie Ian A

    (ETH Zürich)

Abstract

The establishment of a tradable permit market requires the regulator to select a level of aggregate emissions and then distribute the associated permits to specific groups. Both these decisions create opportunities for rent seeking. In this paper, we use a contest model to analyse the incentives to rent seek for pollution permits and to analyse the consequences for social welfare. We find differences in firms' rent-seeking choices compared to a conventional rent-seeking contest. We see that a fundamental aspect of firms' incentives to rent seek depends on the market value of the permits, that is, the value of the ex post reallocated rents. This impact depends on the responsiveness of the regulator to aggregate rent-seeking effort. The responsiveness, in some cases, may improve welfare by reducing the per-unit value of permits, which may lower the rent-seeking effort more than it increases the damages experienced from the additional emissions.

Suggested Citation

  • Hanley Nick & MacKenzie Ian A, 2010. "The Effects of Rent Seeking over Tradable Pollution Permits," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-26, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:10:y:2010:i:1:n:56
    DOI: 10.2202/1935-1682.2497
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    Cited by:

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    2. Jean-Daniel Guigou & Bruno Lovat & Nicolas Treich, 2017. "Risky rents," Economic Theory Bulletin, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 5(2), pages 151-164, October.
    3. Ian A. MacKenzie, 2009. "Controlling externalities in the presence of rent seeking," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 09/111, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
    4. Balistreri, Edward J. & Hillberry, Russell H. & Rutherford, Thomas F., 2010. "Trade and welfare: Does industrial organization matter?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 109(2), pages 85-87, November.
    5. Ian A. Lange & Sarah Polborn, 2012. "Can Lobbying Encourage Abatement? Designing a New Policy Instrument," CESifo Working Paper Series 3760, CESifo.
    6. Lana Friesen & Ian A. MacKenzie & Mai Phuong Nguyen, 2022. "Initially contestable property rights and Coase: evidence from the lab," Discussion Papers Series 656, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    7. Ashwin Rode, 2021. "Rent Seeking over Tradable Emission Permits," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 78(2), pages 257-285, February.
    8. Ian A. MacKenzie, 2015. "Prices versus quantities with distributional rent seeking," Discussion Papers Series 548, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
    9. Ian A. MacKenzie, 2017. "Rent creation and rent seeking in environmental policy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 171(1), pages 145-166, April.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling

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