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The regulatory choice of noncompliance in emissions trading programs

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  • John Stranlund

Abstract

This paper addresses the following question: To achieve a fixed aggregate emissions target cost-effectively, should emissions trading programs be designed and implemented to achieve full compliance, or does allowing a certain amount of noncompliance reduce the costs of reaching the emissions target? The total costs of achieving the target consist of aggregate abatement costs, monitoring costs, and the expected costs of collecting penalties from noncompliant firms. Under common assumptions, I show that allowing noncompliance is cost-effective only if violations are enforced with an increasing marginal penalty. However, one can design a policy that induces full compliance with a constant marginal penalty that meets the aggregate emissions target with lower expected costs. This last result does not depend on setting an arbitrarily high constant marginal penalty. In fact, the marginal penalty need not be higher than the equilibrium marginal penalty under the policy with the increasing marginal penalty, and can actually be lower. Finally, tying the marginal penalty directly to the permit price allows the policy objective to be achieved without any knowledge of firms’ abatement costs. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Suggested Citation

  • John Stranlund, 2007. "The regulatory choice of noncompliance in emissions trading programs," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 38(1), pages 99-117, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:38:y:2007:i:1:p:99-117
    DOI: 10.1007/s10640-006-9058-3
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    Cited by:

    1. John K. Stranlund & James J. Murphy & John M. Spraggon, 2013. "Imperfect enforcement of emissions trading and industry welfare: a laboratory investigation," Chapters, in: John A. List & Michael K. Price (ed.), Handbook on Experimental Economics and the Environment, chapter 9, pages 265-288, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Carmen Arguedas, 2008. "To Comply or Not To Comply? Pollution Standard Setting Under Costly Monitoring and Sanctioning," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 41(2), pages 155-168, October.
    3. Ian MacKenzie & Markus Ohndorf, 2012. "Optimal monitoring of credit-based emissions trading under asymmetric information," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 42(2), pages 180-203, October.
    4. Arguedas, Carmen & Rousseau, Sandra, 2009. "A note on the complementarity of uniform emission standards and monitoring strategies," Working Papers 2009/12, Hogeschool-Universiteit Brussel, Faculteit Economie en Management.
    5. Villegas, Clara & Coria, Jessica, 2009. "Taxes, Permits, and the Adoptation of Abatement Technology under Imperfect Compliance," Discussion Papers dp-09-20-efd, Resources For the Future.
    6. John Stranlund & Carlos Chávez, 2013. "Who should bear the administrative costs of an emissions tax?," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 53-79, August.
    7. Stranlund, John K. & Moffitt, L. Joe, 2014. "Enforcement and price controls in emissions trading," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 20-38.
    8. Carol Luengo & Marcelo Caffera & Carlos Chávez, 2020. "Uncertain penalties and compliance: experimental evidence," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 22(2), pages 197-216, April.
    9. Stranlund, John K. & Murphy, James J. & Spraggon, John M. & Zirogiannis, Nikolaos, 2019. "Tying enforcement to prices in emissions markets: An experimental evaluation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 98(C).
    10. Stranlund, John K. & Chávez, Carlos A. & Villena, Mauricio G., 2009. "The optimal pricing of pollution when enforcement is costly," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 183-191, September.
    11. Carol Luengo & Marcelo Caffera & Carlos Chávez, 2014. "Uncertain Penalties and Compliance," Documentos de Trabajo/Working Papers 1407, Facultad de Ciencias Empresariales y Economia. Universidad de Montevideo..
    12. Alessio D’Amato & Edilio Valentini, 2011. "Enforcement and environmental quality in a decentralized emission trading system," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 40(2), pages 141-159, October.
    13. Carmen Arguedas, 2013. "Pollution standards, technology investment and fines for non-compliance," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 44(2), pages 156-176, October.
    14. Andreas Oestreich, 2015. "Firms’ Emissions and Self-Reporting Under Competitive Audit Mechanisms," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 62(4), pages 949-978, December.
    15. Shuihua Han & Yue Jiang & Ling Zhao & Stephen C. H. Leung & Zongwei Luo, 2020. "Weight reduction technology and supply chain network design under carbon emission restriction," Annals of Operations Research, Springer, vol. 290(1), pages 567-590, July.
    16. Buysse, J. & Bral, A., 2018. "An analysis of enforceability of fertilization application limits," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 276045, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    17. Stranlund, John K. & Murphy, James J. & Spraggon, John M., 2011. "An experimental analysis of compliance in dynamic emissions markets," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 414-429.
    18. Caffera, Marcelo & Chávez, Carlos & Ardente, Analía, 2018. "The deterrence effect of linear versus convex penalties in environmental policy: laboratory evidence," MPRA Paper 90946, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Pauli Lappi, 2016. "The welfare ranking of prices and quantities under noncompliance," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(2), pages 269-288, April.
    20. Hugo Salgado & Carlos Chávez, 2016. "Using Taxes to Deter Illegal Fishing in ITQ Systems," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 64(4), pages 709-724, August.
    21. Li Xiangfei & Qin Qin & Gao Yang, 2017. "Optimal Implementation Strategy of Carbon Emission Reduction Policy Instruments in Consideration of Cost Efficiency," Journal of Systems Science and Information, De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 111-127, April.
    22. Pauli Lappi, 2017. "Emissions trading, non-compliance and bankable permits," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 24(6), pages 1081-1099, December.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Compliance; Enforcement; Emissions trading; Monitoring; Transferable permits; L51; Q28;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy

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