The impact of disaster on the strategic interaction between company and government
A company allocates a resource between safety effort and production. The government earns taxes on production. The disaster probability is modeled as a contest between the disaster magnitude and the two players’ safety efforts. The model illustrates that safety efforts are strategic substitutes and inverse U shaped in the disaster magnitude. The company’s safety effort increases, and the government’s safety effort decreases, in taxation. Taxation can ameliorate companies’ free riding on governments’ safety efforts. With sufficiently large production, the government prefers, and the company does not prefer, raising taxation above 0%. For the government, an upper limit usually exists above which taxation cannot be profitably increased. The model shows how both or no players exert safety efforts when the disaster magnitude is small and large respectively, and how they free ride on each other’s safety efforts when the disaster magnitude is intermediate. The company free rides when the unit production cost is low so that the large profits outweigh the negative impact of the disaster. With endogenized taxation determined by the government, the tax rate decreases in the disaster magnitude, the unit production cost, the government’s unit cost of safety effort, and how the company is negatively affected by the disaster. The tax rate increases in the company’s resource and how the government is negatively affected by the disaster. The tax rate is weakly U shaped in the company’s unit safety effort. The model is illustrated with numerical examples and with the oil spill disasters by BP in 2010 and by Exxon Valdez in 1989.
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