The political economy of refunded emissions payment programs
Lobbying by pollution firms is commonly viewed as having a negative impact on the stringency of environmental policy. We ask whether lobbying instead can bring about stricter environmental policy, and how imperfect property rights affect the policy outcome. We study the effects on the equilibrium pollution tax of refunding all tax payments to the polluting firms. Relatively clean firms may be induced to lobby for a higher pollution levy. However, this incentive declines when the property rights over the accumulated funds are insecure.
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