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

Regulating stock externalities under uncertainty

  • Newell, Richard G.
  • Pizer, William A.

Using a simple analytical model incorporating costs and benefits, stock decay, time discounting, and uncertainty, we uncover several important principles governing the choice of price-based policies (e.g., taxes) relative to quantity-based policies (e.g., tradeable permits) for controlling stock externalities. As in Weitzman (1974), the relative slopes of the marginal benefits and costs of controlling the externality continue to be critical determinants of the efficiency of prices relative to quantities, with flatter marginal benefits and steeper marginal costs favoring prices. But we can say more. The relative slopes also help determine the optimal control path, with convergence to a steady state proceeding slowly as long as marginal benefits are relatively flat. On this basis we conclude that the conditions typically characterizing long-lived stock externalities—in particular, that the optimal control path involves long-term changes in the stock level—tend to favor price-based policies. While this result holds over a wide range of conditions, it depends on several key variables. Positive correlation of cost shocks across time, in particular, as well as low rates of time discounting and stock decay, will tilt the balance back toward quantity controls. These results are potentially applicable to a wide range of market failures involving stock externalities. In addition to the obvious application to stock pollutants, one can view species preservation, land-use policy, education, and research as areas where policymakers wish to regulate a stock-like externality. This analysis provides a useful framework for comparing alternative policy instruments for regulating such problems. Regarding climate change, for example, these results suggest that the use of tradeable emission permits rather than emission fees to slow growth in the stock of greenhouse gases is probably inefficient. Optimal policy would involve either tradeable permits that quickly stabilize the stock, or em

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6WJ6-47YY389-2/2/65e6ab338464718a5d87d565d3f28b0b
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Environmental Economics and Management.

Volume (Year): 45 (2003)
Issue (Month): 2, Supplement 1 (March)
Pages: 416-432

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:45:y:2003:i:2,supplement1:p:416-432
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622870

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. Pizer, William A., 2002. "Combining price and quantity controls to mitigate global climate change," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(3), pages 409-434, September.
  2. Andrew Yates, 2002. "Decentralization in Pollution Permit Markets," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 4(4), pages 641-660, October.
  3. Stavins, Robert N., 1996. "Correlated Uncertainty and Policy Instrument Choice," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 218-232, March.
  4. Plourde, Charles & Yeung, David, 1989. "A model of industrial pollution in a stochastic environment," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 97-105, March.
  5. Benford, Frank A., 1998. "On the Dynamics of the Regulation of Pollution: Incentive Compatible Regulation of a Persistent Pollutant," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 1-25, July.
  6. Koenig, Evan F., 1984. "Controlling stock externalities in a common property fishery subject to uncertainty," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 124-138, June.
  7. Pizer, William, 1997. "Prices vs. Quantities Revisited: The Case of Climate Change," Discussion Papers dp-98-02, Resources For the Future.
  8. Laffont, Jean Jacques, 1977. "More on Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(1), pages 177-82, February.
  9. Hoel, Michael & Karp, Larry, 2002. "Taxes versus quotas for a stock pollutant," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 367-384, November.
  10. M. L. Weitzman, 1973. "Prices vs. Quantities," Working papers 106, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  11. Roberts, Marc J. & Spence, Michael, 1976. "Effluent charges and licenses under uncertainty," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3-4), pages 193-208.
  12. Weitzman, Martin L., 2002. "Landing Fees vs Harvest Quotas with Uncertain Fish Stocks," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 325-338, March.
  13. Hoel, Michael & Karp, Larry, 2001. "Taxes and quotas for a stock pollutant with multiplicative uncertainty," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 91-114, October.
  14. Roughgarden, Tim & Schneider, Stephen H., 1999. "Climate change policy: quantifying uncertainties for damages and optimal carbon taxes," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(7), pages 415-429, July.
  15. Yates, Andrew J. & Cronshaw, Mark B., 2001. "Pollution Permit Markets with Intertemporal Trading and Asymmetric Information," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 104-118, July.
  16. J. E. Stiglitz, 1999. "Introduction," Economic Notes, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, vol. 28(3), pages 249-254, November.
  17. Yohe, Gary W, 1978. "Towards a General Comparison of Price Controls and Quantity Controls under Uncertainty," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(2), pages 229-38, June.
  18. Warwick J. McKibbin & Peter J. Wilcoxen, 1997. "A Better Way to Slow Global Climate Change," Economics and Environment Network Working Papers 9702, Australian National University, Economics and Environment Network.
  19. Coleman Bazelon & Kent Smetters, 1999. "Discounting Inside the Washington D.C. Beltway," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(4), pages 213-228, Fall.
  20. Kolstad, Charles D., 1996. "Learning and Stock Effects in Environmental Regulation: The Case of Greenhouse Gas Emissions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 1-18, July.
  21. C. G. Plourde, 1972. "A Model of Waste Accumulation and Disposal," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 5(1), pages 119-25, February.
  22. Kitabatake, Yoshifusa, 1989. "Optimal exploitation and enhancement of environmental resources," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 224-241, May.
  23. Kling, Catherine & Rubin, Jonathan, 1997. "Bankable permits for the control of environmental pollution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 101-115, April.
  24. Smith, Vernon L, 1972. "Dynamics of Waste Accumulation: Disposal Versus Recycling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 86(4), pages 600-616, November.
  25. Falk Ita & Mendelsohn Robert, 1993. "The Economics of Controlling Stock Pollutants: An Efficient Strategy for Greenhouse Gases," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 76-88, July.
  26. Dasgupta, Partha & Hammond, Peter & Maskin, Eric, 1980. "On Imperfect Information and Optimal Pollution Control," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(5), pages 857-60, October.
  27. Weitzman, Martin L, 1978. "Optimal Rewards for Economic Regulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(4), pages 683-91, September.
  28. Kwerel, Evan, 1977. "To Tell the Truth: Imperfect Information and Optimal Pollution Control," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 595-601, October.
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:eee:jeeman:v:45:y:2003:i:2,supplement1:p:416-432. 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: (Zhang, Lei)

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.