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How Large Are the Welfare Gains from Technological Innovation Induced by Environmental Policies?

  • Parry, Ian W H
  • Pizer, William A
  • Fischer, Carolyn

This paper examines whether the welfare gains from technological innovation that reduces future abatement costs are larger or smaller than the "Pigouvian" welfare gains from optimal pollution control. The relative welfare gains from innovation depend on three key factors--the initially optimal level of abatement, the speed at which innovation reduces future abatement costs, and the discount rate. We calculate the welfare gains from innovation under a variety of different scenarios. Mostly they are less than the Pigouvian welfare gains. To be greater, innovation must reduce abatement costs substantially and quickly and the initially optimal abatement level must be fairly modest. Copyright 2003 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Regulatory Economics.

Volume (Year): 23 (2003)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 237-55

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Handle: RePEc:kap:regeco:v:23:y:2003:i:3:p:237-55
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  1. Orr, Lloyd, 1976. "Incentive for Innovation as the Basis for Effluent Charge Strategy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 441-47, May.
  2. Parry, Ian, 1997. "Pollution Regulation and the Efficiency Gains from Technological Innovation," Discussion Papers dp-98-04, Resources For the Future.
  3. Pizer, William & Newell, Richard, 2000. "Discounting the Distant Future: How Much Do Uncertain Rates Increase Valuations?," Discussion Papers dp-00-45, Resources For the Future.
  4. Muradian, Roldan, 2001. "Ecological thresholds: a survey," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 7-24, July.
  5. Parry, Ian W. H., 1995. "Optimal pollution taxes and endogenous technological progress," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 69-85, May.
  6. Stavins, Robert & Jaffe, Adam & Newell, Richard, 2000. "Technological Change and the Environment," Working Paper Series rwp00-002, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  7. Jaffe Adam B. & Stavins Robert N., 1995. "Dynamic Incentives of Environmental Regulations: The Effects of Alternative Policy Instruments on Technology Diffusion," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages S43-S63, November.
  8. Milliman, Scott R. & Prince, Raymond, 1989. "Firm incentives to promote technological change in pollution control," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 247-265, November.
  9. Parry, Ian & Pizer, William & Fischer, Carolyn, 1998. "Instrument Choice for Environmental Protection When Technological Innovation is Endogenous," Discussion Papers dp-99-04, Resources For the Future.
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  11. Burtraw, Dallas & Krupnick, Alan & Austin, David & Farrell, Deirdre & Mansur, Erin, 1997. "The Costs and Benefits of Reducing Acid Rain," Discussion Papers dp-97-31-rev, Resources For the Future.
  12. Jung, Chulho & Krutilla, Kerry & Boyd, Roy, 1996. "Incentives for Advanced Pollution Abatement Technology at the Industry Level: An Evaluation of Policy Alternatives," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 95-111, January.
  13. Dallas Burtraw & Alan Krupnick & Erin Mansur & David Austin & Deirdre Farrell, 1998. "Costs And Benefits Of Reducing Air Pollutants Related To Acid Rain," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 16(4), pages 379-400, October.
  14. Downing, Paul B. & White, Lawrence J., 1986. "Innovation in pollution control," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 18-29, March.
  15. Kolstad, Charles D., 1996. "Learning and Stock Effects in Environmental Regulation: The Case of Greenhouse Gas Emissions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 1-18, July.
  16. Dowlatabadi, Hadi, 1998. "Sensitivity of climate change mitigation estimates to assumptions about technical change," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(5-6), pages 473-493, December.
  17. Goulder, Lawrence H. & Mathai, Koshy, 2000. "Optimal CO2 Abatement in the Presence of Induced Technological Change," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 1-38, January.
  18. Revesz, Richard L. & Stavins, Robert N., 2007. "Environmental Law," Handbook of Law and Economics, Elsevier.
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