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Some Inconvenient Truths about Climate Change Policy: The Distributional Impacts of Transportation Policies

Author

Listed:
  • Stephen P. Holland

    (University of North Carolina at Greensboro and NBER)

  • Jonathan E. Hughes

    (University of Colorado at Boulder)

  • Christopher R. Knittel

    (MIT and NBER)

  • Nathan C. Parker

    (University of California, Davis)

Abstract

Climate policy has favored costly measures that implicitly or explicitly subsidize lowcarbon fuels. We simulate four transportation sector policies: cap and trade (CAT), ethanol subsidies, a renewable fuel standard (RFS), and a lowcarbon fuel standard. Our simulations confirm that alternatives to CAT are 2.5 to 4 times more costly but are amenable to adoption due to right-skewed distributions of gains. We analyze voting on the Waxman-Markey (WM) CAT bill. Conditional on a district’s CAT gains, a district’s RFS gains are negatively correlated with the likelihood of voting for WM. Our analysis supports campaign contributions as a partial mechanism.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen P. Holland & Jonathan E. Hughes & Christopher R. Knittel & Nathan C. Parker, 2015. "Some Inconvenient Truths about Climate Change Policy: The Distributional Impacts of Transportation Policies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1052-1069, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:97:y:2015:i:5:p:1052-1069
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    Cited by:

    1. Christopher R. Knittel & Ryan Sandle, 2011. "Cleaning the Bathwater with the Baby: The Health Co-Benefits of Carbon Pricing in Transportation," Working Papers 1115, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
    2. Drabik, Dusan, 2011. "The Theory of Biofuel Policy and Food Grain Prices," Working Papers 126615, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
    3. Gabriel E Lade & C -Y Cynthia Lin Lawell & Aaron Smith, 2018. "Policy Shocks and Market-Based Regulations: Evidence from the Renewable Fuel Standard," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 100(3), pages 707-731.
    4. de Gorter, Harry & Drabik, Dusan, 2015. "The Distinct Economic Effects of the Ethanol Blend Wall, RIN Prices and Ethanol Price Premium due to the RFS," Working Papers 250020, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
    5. GianCarlo Moschini & Harvey Lapan & Hyunseok Kim, 2017. "The Renewable Fuel Standard in Competitive Equilibrium: Market and Welfare Effects," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 99(5), pages 1117-1142.
    6. Jussila Hammes , Johanna, 2014. "A biofuel mandate and a low carbon fuel standard with ‘double counting’," Working papers in Transport Economics 2014:19, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).
    7. Mulholland, Eamonn & Teter, Jacob & Cazzola, Pierpaolo & McDonald, Zane & Ó Gallachóir, Brian P., 2018. "The long haul towards decarbonising road freight – A global assessment to 2050," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 216(C), pages 678-693.
    8. Christopher R. Knittel, 2012. "Reducing Petroleum Consumption from Transportation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(1), pages 93-118, Winter.
    9. Carter, CA & Rausser, GC & Smith, A, 2017. "Commodity storage and the market effects of biofuel policies," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt61t114zb, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
    10. Stephen P. Holland & Jonathan E. Hughes & Christopher R. Knittel & Nathan C. Parker, 2013. "Unintended Consequences of Transportation Carbon Policies: Land-Use, Emissions, and Innovation," NBER Working Papers 19636, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Derek Lemoine, 2017. "Escape from Third-Best: Rating Emissions for Intensity Standards," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 67(4), pages 789-821, August.
    12. Benjamin Dachis, 2018. "Speed Bump Ahead: Ottawa Should Drive Slowly on Clean Fuel Standards," e-briefs 279, C.D. Howe Institute.
    13. Zhang, Duan & Chen, Yihsu & Tanaka, Makoto, 2018. "On the effectiveness of tradable performance-based standards," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 456-469.
    14. Kenneth Gillingham & James H. Stock, 2018. "The Cost of Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 32(4), pages 53-72, Fall.
    15. Lade, Gabriel E. & Lin, C.-Y. Cynthia & Smith, Aaron, 2015. "Ex Post Costs and Renewable Identification Number (RIN) Prices under the Renewable Fuel Standard," Discussion Papers dp-15-22, Resources For the Future.
    16. Huse, Cristian, 2014. "Fast and Furious (and Dirty): How Asymmetric Regulation May Hinder Environmental Policy," MPRA Paper 48909, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Lade, Gabriel & Lin, C.-Y. Cynthia & Smith, Aaron, 2014. "Policy Uncertainty under Market-Based Regulations: Evidence from the Renewable Fuel Standard," 2014 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota 170673, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    18. Joseph S. Shapiro, 2016. "Trade Costs, CO2, and the Environment," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 220-254, November.
    19. Huseynov, Samir & Palma, Marco A., 2018. "Does California’s LCFS Reduce CO2 Emissions?," 2018 Annual Meeting, August 5-7, Washington, D.C. 274200, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    20. Parker, Nathan & Williams, Robert & Dominguez-Faus, Rosa & Scheitrum, Daniel, 2017. "Renewable natural gas in California: An assessment of the technical and economic potential," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 235-245.
    21. Barla, Philippe & Proost, Stef, 2012. "Energy efficiency policy in a non-cooperative world," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 2209-2215.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    climate; policy; subsidy; transportation; gains;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • R48 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government Pricing and Policy

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