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Optimal Timing of Climate Change Policy: Interaction Between Carbon Taxes and Innovation Externalities

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  • Reyer Gerlagh

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  • Snorre Kverndokk
  • Knut Rosendahl

Abstract

This paper addresses the impact of endogenous technology through research and development (R&D) on the timing of climate change policy. We develop a model with a stock pollutant (carbon dioxide) and abatement technological change through R&D, and we use the model to study the interaction between carbon taxes and innovation externalities. Our analysis shows that the timing of optimal emission reduction policy strongly depends on the set of policy instruments available. When climate-specific R&D targeting instruments are available, policy has to use these to step up early innovation. When these instruments are not available, policy has to steer innovation through creating demand for emission saving technologies. That is, carbon taxes should be high compared to the Pigouvian levels when the abatement industry is developing. Finally, we calibrate the model in order to explore the magnitude of the theoretical findings within the context of climate change policy.
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Suggested Citation

  • Reyer Gerlagh & Snorre Kverndokk & Knut Rosendahl, 2009. "Optimal Timing of Climate Change Policy: Interaction Between Carbon Taxes and Innovation Externalities," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 43(3), pages 369-390, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:43:y:2009:i:3:p:369-390
    DOI: 10.1007/s10640-009-9271-y
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. de Bovenberg, A Lans & Mooij, Ruud A, 1994. "Environmental Levies and Distortionary Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 1085-1089, September.
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    3. Reyer Gerlagh & Snorre Kverndokk & Knut Einar Rosendah, 2008. "Linking Environmental and Innovation Policy," Working Papers 2008.53, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    4. Snorre Kverndokk & Knut Rosendahl & Thomas Rutherford, 2004. "Climate Policies and Induced Technological Change: Which to Choose, the Carrot or the Stick?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 27(1), pages 21-41, January.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Climate change; Environmental policy; Technological change; Research and development; H21; O30; Q42;

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources

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