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Optimal mix of emissions taxes and cap-and-trade

  • Mandell, Svante

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.

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

Volume (Year): 56 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (September)
Pages: 131-140

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:56:y:2008:i:2:p:131-140
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622870

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  1. 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.
  2. Ian W. H. Parry & Roberton C. Williams III & Lawrence H. Goulder, 1997. "When Can Carbon Abatement Policies Increase Welfare? The Fundamental Role of Distorted Factor Markets," NBER Working Papers 5967, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Kerr, Suzi & Cramton, Peter, 1998. "Tradable Carbon Permit Auctions: How and Why to Auction Not Grandfather," Discussion Papers dp-98-34, Resources For the Future.
  4. Laffont, Jean Jacques, 1977. "More on Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(1), pages 177-82, February.
  5. Malcomson, James M, 1978. "Prices vs. Quantities: A Critical Note on the Use of Approximations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(1), pages 203-07, February.
  6. Louis Kaplow & Steven Shavell, 1997. "On the Superiority of Corrective Taxes to Quantity Regulation," NBER Working Papers 6251, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. M. L. Weitzman, 1973. "Prices vs. Quantities," Working papers 106, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. Roberts, Marc J. & Spence, Michael, 1976. "Effluent charges and licenses under uncertainty," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3-4), pages 193-208.
  9. Ireland, N J, 1977. "Ideal Prices vs. Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(1), pages 183-86, February.
  10. Weitzman, Martin L, 1978. "Optimal Rewards for Economic Regulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(4), pages 683-91, September.
  11. 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.
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