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Optimal emission pricing in the presence of international spillovers: Decomposing leakage and terms-of-trade motives

  • Böhringer, Christoph
  • Lange, Andreas
  • Rutherford, Thomas F.

Carbon leakage provides an efficiency argument for differentiated emission prices in favor of emission-intensive and trade-exposed sectors under unilateral climate policy. However, differential emission pricing can be used as a beggar-thy-neighbor policy to exploit terms of trade. Adopting an optimal tax framework, we propose a method to decompose the leakage and terms-of-trade motives for emission price differentiation. We employ our method for the quantitative impact assessment of unilateral climate policy based on empirical data. We find that the leakage motive yields only small efficiency gains compared to uniform emission pricing. Likewise, the terms-of-trade motive has rather limited potential for strategic burden shifting. We conclude that in many cases the simple first-best rule of uniform emission pricing remains a practical guideline for unilateral climate policy design.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 110 (2014)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 101-111

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:110:y:2014:i:c:p:101-111
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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  1. Hoel, Michael, 1991. "Global environmental problems: The effects of unilateral actions taken by one country," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 55-70, January.
  2. Hoel, M., 1993. "Should a Carbon Tax Be Differentiated Across Sectors?," Memorandum 09/1993, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  3. Christoph Böhringer & Thomas Rutherford, 2002. "Carbon Abatement and International Spillovers," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 22(3), pages 391-417, July.
  4. Azusa OKAGAWA & Kanemi BAN, 2008. "Estimation of substitution elasticities for CGE models," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 08-16, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
  5. Guro Børnes Ringlund & Knut Einar Rosendahl & Terje Skjerpen, 2004. "Does oilrig activity react to oil price changes? An empirical investigation," Discussion Papers 372, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  6. Christoph Böhringer & Thomas F. Rutherford, 2010. "The Costs of Compliance: A CGE Assessment of Canada's Policy Options under the Kyoto Protocol," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(2), pages 177-211, 02.
  7. Böhringer, Christoph & Rutherford, Thomas F. & Tol, Richard S. J., 2009. "The EU 20/20/2020 Targets: An Overview of the EMF22 Assessment," Papers WP325, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  8. Markusen, James R., 1975. "International externalities and optimal tax structures," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 15-29, February.
  9. Krutilla, Kerry, 1991. "Environmental regulation in an open economy," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 127-142, March.
  10. Graham, Paul & Thorpe, Sally & Hogan, Lindsay, 1999. "Non-competitive market behaviour in the international coking coal market," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 195-212, June.
  11. Böhringer, Christoph & Balistreri, Edward J. & Rutherford, Thomas F., 2012. "The role of border carbon adjustment in unilateral climate policy: Overview of an Energy Modeling Forum study (EMF 29)," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(S2), pages S97-S110.
  12. Krichene, Noureddine, 2002. "World crude oil and natural gas: a demand and supply model," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 557-576, November.
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