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Distributing Pollution Rights in Cap-and-Trade Programs: Are Outcomes Independent of Allocation?

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  • Meredith Fowlie

    (University of California, Berkeley)

  • Jeffrey M. Perloff

    (University of California, Berkeley)

Abstract

Standard economic theory predicts that if property rights to pollute are clearly established, equilibrium outcomes in an efficient emissions permit market will be independent of how the emissions permits are initially distributed. This so-called independence property has important implications for policy design and implementation. Past studies document a strong positive correlation between the initial permit allocation and firm-level emissions, raising concerns that the independence property is failing to hold in real-world settings. We exploit the random assignment of firms to different permit allocation cycles in Southern California's RECLAIM program in order to test the independence of permit allocation and emissions. Our results lend empirical support to the independence hypothesis. © 2013 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Meredith Fowlie & Jeffrey M. Perloff, 2013. "Distributing Pollution Rights in Cap-and-Trade Programs: Are Outcomes Independent of Allocation?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(5), pages 1640-1652, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:95:y:2013:i:5:p:1640-1652
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Montgomery, W. David, 1972. "Markets in licenses and efficient pollution control programs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 395-418, December.
    2. Reimund Schwarze & Peter Zapfel, 2000. "Sulfur Allowance Trading and the Regional Clean Air Incentives Market: A Comparative Design Analysis of two Major Cap-and-Trade Permit Programs?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 17(3), pages 279-298, November.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gabriel Natividad, 2016. "Quotas, Productivity, and Prices: The Case of Anchovy Fishing," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(1), pages 220-257, March.
    2. Kailin Kroetz & James N. Sanchirico & Daniel K. Lew, 2015. "Efficiency Costs of Social Objectives in Tradable Permit Programs," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(3), pages 339-366.
    3. Sheila M. Olmstead & Robert N. Stavins, 2012. "Three Key Elements of a Post-2012 International Climate Policy Architecture," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 6(1), pages 65-85.
    4. Bontems, Philippe & Nauges, Céline, 2017. "Production choices with water markets: The role of initial allocations and forward trading," TSE Working Papers 17-812, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    5. Martin, Ralf & Muûls, Mirabelle & de Preux, Laure B. & Wagner, Ulrich J., 2014. "On the empirical content of carbon leakage criteria in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 78-88.
    6. Christos Constantatos & Eleftherios Filippiadis & Eftichios Sartzetakis, 2014. "Using the allocation of emission permits for strategic trade purposes," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 259-280, June.
    7. repec:eee:jeeman:v:89:y:2018:i:c:p:201-217 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:urb:journl:v:9:y:2018:p:1-24 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Hugh McDonald & Suzi Kerr, 2011. "Trading Efficiency in Water Quality Trading Markets: An Assessment of Trade-Offs," Working Papers 11_15, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
    10. Leibbrandt, Andreas & Lynham, John, 2018. "Does the allocation of property rights matter in the commons?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 201-217.
    11. repec:eee:enepol:v:107:y:2017:i:c:p:337-344 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Nicola De Vivo & Giovanni Marin, 2018. "How neutral is the choice of the allocation mechanism in cap-and-trade schemes? Evidence from the EU-ETS," Argomenti, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Department of Economics, Society & Politics, vol. 9(9), pages 1-24, January-A.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    pollution; cap-and-trade; permit allocation;

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • Q50 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - General
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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