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Controlling Pollution with Relaxed Regulations


  • Carmen Arguedas


  • Hamid Hamoudi



We investigate the features of optimal environmental policies composed of pollution standards and costly inspection processes, where fines for exceeding the standards depend both on the degree of transgression and the environmental technology that the firm uses to reduce the social impact of its polluting activity. We show that the main characteristics of these policies depend crucially on when the firm selects that technology with respect to the timing of the policy announcement. In fact, the firm has incentives to over-invest in green technologies when the policy is announced afterwards; and to under-invest in them if the environmental authority plays first. Surprisingly, we find that both the firm and the regulator prefer that the firm invests in technology before the policy is announced, even when this implies that expected penalties for noncompliance might be zero.

Suggested Citation

  • Carmen Arguedas & Hamid Hamoudi, 2004. "Controlling Pollution with Relaxed Regulations," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 26(1), pages 85-104, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:regeco:v:26:y:2004:i:1:p:85-104

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Cremer, Helmuth & Roy, Bernard & Toledano, Joëlle & de Villemeur, Étienne, 2003. "Access Pricing and Imperfect Competition," IDEI Working Papers 217, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    2. Cremer, Helmuth & Roy, Bernard & Toledano, Joëlle & de Villemeur, Étienne, 2004. "Worksharing, Pricing and Competition in the Postal Market," IDEI Working Papers 302, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    3. Billette de Villemeur, Etienne & Cremer, Helmuth & Roy, Bernard & Toledano, Joëlle, 2003. "Optimal Pricing and Price-Cap Regulation in the Postal Sector," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 49-62, July.
    4. Armstrong, Mark, 2001. "The theory of access pricing and interconnection," MPRA Paper 15608, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, January.
    6. Sherman, Roger, 2001. "Optimal Worksharing Discounts," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 81-92, January.
    7. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1996. "Creating Competition through Interconnection: Theory and Practice," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 227-256, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. André Barreira da Silva Rocha, 2013. "An Evolutionary Game for the Issues of Social Investment, Environmental Compliance and Consumer Boycott," Discussion Papers in Economics 13/17, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
    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. 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.
    4. Arun Malik, 2007. "Optimal environmental regulation based on more than just emissions," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 1-16, August.
    5. Carmen Arguedas, 2013. "Pollution standards, technology investment and fines for non-compliance," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 44(2), pages 156-176, October.
    6. Sverre Grepperud, 2015. "Optimal safety standards when accident prevention depends upon both firm and worker effort," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 39(3), pages 505-521, June.
    7. Arguedas, Carmen, 2005. "Bargaining in environmental regulation revisited," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 422-433, September.
    8. Dijkstra, Bouwe R., 2007. "An investment contest to influence environmental policy," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 300-324, November.
    9. repec:spr:envpol:v:20:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10018-017-0187-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Chongwoo Choe & Charles E. Hyde, 2007. "Multinational Transfer Pricing, Tax Arbitrage and the Arm's Length Principle," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 83(263), pages 398-404, December.

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