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Optimal mix of emissions taxes and cap-and-trade

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  • Mandell, Svante

Abstract

In practice, different emitters of a particular pollutant are sometimes subjected to different control mechanisms. This paper focuses on the situation where a part of the economy is regulated by a cap-and-trade program, while the rest is subjected to an emissions tax. Using an extended version of Weitzman's 'Prices vs. Quantities' model [M.L. Weitzman, Prices vs. quantities, Revi. Econ. Stud. 41 (1974) 477-491], we analyze the conditions under which this is superior, from an efficiency point of view, to subjecting the whole economy to either of these control mechanisms. The paper addresses a crucial trade-off between two sources of efficiency loss, one due to cost-effectiveness issues and another due to emissions volume. This trade-off determines the optimal size of each sector. It is shown that the size of the taxed sector, at an optimum, increases with the relative steepness of the aggregate marginal abatement cost function.

Suggested Citation

  • Mandell, Svante, 2008. "Optimal mix of emissions taxes and cap-and-trade," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 131-140, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:56:y:2008:i:2:p:131-140
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Martin L. Weitzman, 1974. "Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(4), pages 477-491.
    2. Parry, Ian W. H. & Williams, Roberton III & Goulder, Lawrence H., 1999. "When Can Carbon Abatement Policies Increase Welfare? The Fundamental Role of Distorted Factor Markets," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 52-84, January.
    3. James M. Malcomson, 1978. "Prices vs. Quantities: A Critical Note on the Use of Approximations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 45(1), pages 203-207.
    4. Weitzman, Martin L, 1978. "Optimal Rewards for Economic Regulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(4), pages 683-691, September.
    5. N. J. Ireland, 1977. "Ideal Prices vs. Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(1), pages 183-186.
    6. Cramton, Peter & Kerr, Suzi, 2002. "Tradeable carbon permit auctions: How and why to auction not grandfather," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 333-345, March.
    7. Louis Kaplow & Steven Shavell, 2002. "On the Superiority of Corrective Taxes to Quantity Regulation," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 1-17, January.
    8. Watson, William D. & Ridker, Ronald G., 1984. "Losses from effluent taxes and quotas under uncertainty," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 310-326, December.
    9. Yohe, Gary W., 1981. "Should sliding controls be the next generation of pollution controls?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 251-267, April.
    10. Roberts, Marc J. & Spence, Michael, 1976. "Effluent charges and licenses under uncertainty," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3-4), pages 193-208.
    11. Jean Jacques Laffont, 1977. "More on Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 44(1), pages 177-182.
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