IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

A Tail-Payoff Puzzle in Dynamic Pollution Control


  • Iho Antti

    () (MTT Agrifood Research Finland)

  • Kitti Mitri

    () (Aalto University School of Economics)


We analyze dynamic models with negative externalities occurring from production capital and input use. We uncover a puzzle related to such models: evaluated with a social welfare function, the steady-state outcome of a socially optimal policy, and thus the tail of the corresponding payoff sequence, may yield a smaller social payoff than a market outcome. The main questions we address are under what conditions this phenomenon arises and how general it is. We show that there are always Pareto-optimal policies which lead to the puzzle when the discount rate is fixed. In addition to discounting, the driving force of our results is that the periodic pollution and profits are linked to production capital. We demonstrate the puzzle with a model for controlling phosphorus losses from crop production. We argue that the puzzle should be taken into account in the policy analysis of dynamic problems, including negative externalities.

Suggested Citation

  • Iho Antti & Kitti Mitri, 2011. "A Tail-Payoff Puzzle in Dynamic Pollution Control," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-30, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:11:y:2011:i:1:n:29

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: For access to full text, subscription to the journal or payment for the individual article is required.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Basu, Kaushik & Mitra, Tapan, 2007. "Utilitarianism for infinite utility streams: A new welfare criterion and its axiomatic characterization," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 133(1), pages 350-373, March.
    2. Sandal, Leif K. & Steinshamn, Stein Ivar & Grafton, R. Quentin, 2003. ""More is less": the tax effects of ignoring flow externalities," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 239-254, August.
    3. Graciela Chichilnisky, 1996. "An axiomatic approach to sustainable development," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 13(2), pages 231-257, April.
    4. C. G. Plourde, 1972. "A Model of Waste Accumulation and Disposal," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 5(1), pages 119-125, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:11:y:2011:i:1:n:29. 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: (Peter Golla). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.