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Toward a Political Theory of the Emergence of Environmental Incentive Regulation


  • Marcel Boyer
  • Jean-Jacques Laffont


This article makes some steps toward a formal political economy of environmental policy. Economists' quasi-unanimous preference for sophisticated incentive regulation is reconsidered. We recast the question of instrument choice in the general mechanism design literature within an incomplete contract approach to political economy. We show why "constitutional" constraints on the instruments of environmental policy may be desirable, even though they appear inefficient from a standard economic viewpoint. Their justification lies in the limitations they impose on the politicians' ability to distribute rents. Insights are provided on the emergence of incentive mechanisms in environmental regulation.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcel Boyer & Jean-Jacques Laffont, 1999. "Toward a Political Theory of the Emergence of Environmental Incentive Regulation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(1), pages 137-157, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:30:y:1999:i:spring:p:137-157

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kornai, Janos, 1992. "The Socialist System: The Political Economy of Communism," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198287766, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Pouyet, Jerome, 2004. "The subsidiarity bias in regulation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1-2), pages 255-283, January.
    2. Mougeot, Michel & Naegelen, Florence, 2005. "A political economy analysis of preferential public procurement policies," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 483-501, June.
    3. Hausken, Kjell & Zhuang, Jun, 2013. "The impact of disaster on the strategic interaction between company and government," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 225(2), pages 363-376.
    4. Canton, Joan, 2008. "Redealing the cards: How an eco-industry modifies the political economy of environmental taxes," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 295-315, August.
    5. Alesina, Alberto & Passarelli, Francesco, 2014. "Regulation versus taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 147-156.
    6. Fouquet, Roger, 2012. "The demand for environmental quality in driving transitions to low-polluting energy sources," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 138-149.
    7. Madhav S, Aney & Maitreesh Ghatak & Massimo Morelli, 2011. "Can Market Failure Cause Political Failure?," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series 029, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
    8. Michel Mougeot & Pierre Malgrange, 2002. "Présentation générale," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 156(5), pages 1-7.
    9. Boyer, Marcel, 2003. "Competition and the reform of incentive schemes in the regulated sector," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1353-1381, August.
    10. Boyer, Marcel & Robert, Jacques, 2006. "Organizational inertia and dynamic incentives," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 324-348, March.
    11. Evans, Joanne & Levine, Paul & Trillas, Francesc, 2008. "Lobbies, delegation and the under-investment problem in regulation," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 17-40, January.
    12. Saltari, Enrico & Travaglini, Giuseppe, 2016. "Pollution control under emission constraints: Switching between regimes," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 212-219.
    13. Strausz, Roland, 2017. "Politically induced regulatory risk and independent regulatory agencies," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 215-238.
    14. Aalbers, Rob & Shestalova, Victoria & Kocsis, Viktória, 2013. "Innovation policy for directing technical change in the power sector," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 1240-1250.
    15. Aidt, T.S.Toke Skovsgaard & Dutta, Jayasri, 2004. "Transitional politics: emerging incentive-based instruments in environmental regulation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 458-479, May.
    16. Miyamoto, Takuro, 2014. "Taxes versus quotas in lobbying by a polluting industry with private information on abatement costs," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 141-167.
    17. Cremer, Helmuth & De Donder, Philippe & Gahvari, Firouz, 2008. "Political competition within and between parties: An application to environmental policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 532-547, April.
    18. repec:eee:resene:v:50:y:2017:i:c:p:105-123 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Marcel Boyer & Donatella Porrini, 2004. "Modelling the choice between regulation and liability in terms of social welfare," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 37(3), pages 590-612, August.
    20. Casamatta, Georges & Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre, 2000. "Political sustainability and the design of social insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 341-364, March.
    21. Michel Cavagnac, 2003. "Environmental standard setting by a supra-regional authority: customisation or convergence?," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 30(4), pages 415-437, December.
    22. Lan, Jing & Munro, Alistair & Liu, Zhen, 2017. "Environmental regulatory stringency and the market for abatement goods and services in China," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 105-123.
    23. Aney, Madhav S. & Ghatak, Maitreesh & Morelli, Massimo, 2016. "Credit market frictions and political failure," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 48-64.

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