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Prices versus quantities: environmental regulation and imperfect competition

  • Erin Mansur

    ()

By exercising market power, a firm will distort the production, and therefore the emissions decisions, of all firms in the market. This paper examines how the welfare implications of strategic behavior depend on how pollution is regulated. Under an emissions tax, aggregate emissions do not affect the marginal cost of polluting. In contrast, the price of tradable permits is endogenous. I show when this feedback effect increases strategic firms’ output. Relative to a tax, tradable permits may improve welfare in a market with imperfect competition. As an application, I model strategic and competitive behavior of wholesalers in a Mid-Atlantic electricity market. Simulations suggest that exercising market power decreased emissions locally, thereby substantially reducing the regional tradable permit price. Furthermore, I find that had regulators opted to use a tax instead of permits, the deadweight loss from imperfect competition would have been even greater. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11149-013-9219-6
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Regulatory Economics.

Volume (Year): 44 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (August)
Pages: 80-102

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Handle: RePEc:kap:regeco:v:44:y:2013:i:1:p:80-102
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  1. Fevrier, Philippe & Linnemer, Laurent, 2004. "Idiosyncratic shocks in an asymmetric Cournot oligopoly," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 835-848, June.
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  3. Erin T. Mansur, 2008. "Measuring Welfare in Restructured Electricity Markets," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 369-386, May.
  4. Stephen P. Holland & Erin T. Mansur, 2008. "Is Real-Time Pricing Green? The Environmental Impacts of Electricity Demand Variance," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(3), pages 550-561, August.
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  13. Erin T. Mansur, 2007. "Do Oligopolists Pollute Less? Evidence from a Restructured Electricity Market," NBER Working Papers 13511, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Mansur, Erin T, 2007. "Upstream Competition and Vertical Integration in Electricity Markets," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 50(1), pages 125-56, February.
  15. Ireland, N J, 1977. "Ideal Prices vs. Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(1), pages 183-86, February.
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