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Market Power in Tradable Emission Markets: A Laboratory Testbed for Emission Trading in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria

  • Cason, Timothy N.
  • Gangadharan, Lata
  • Duke, Charlotte

In theory, competitive emission permit markets minimise total abatement cost for any emission ceiling. Permit markets are often imperfectly competitive, however, if they are thin and dominated by large firms. The dominant firm(s) could exercise market power and increase other firms’ costs of pollution control, while reducing their own emission control costs. This paper reports a testbed laboratory experiment to examine whether a dominant firm can exercise market power in a permit market organised using the double auction trading institution. Our parameters approximate the abatement costs of sources in a proposed tradable emissions market for the reduction of nitrogen in the Port Phillip Watershed in Victoria, Australia. We vary across treatments the initial (pre-trade) allocation of permits to sources, so that in one treatment the seller of permits is a monopolist and in another treatment the selling side of the market is duopolistic. We also vary the information that subjects have about the number and abatement costs of their competitors. We find that prices and seller profits are higher and efficiency is lower on average in the monopoly sessions compared to the duopoly sessions, but the differences are not substantial and are not statistically significant due to pronounced variation across sessions. Moreover, prices, profits and transaction volumes are usually much closer to the competitive equilibrium than the monopoly equilibrium.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/57841
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Paper provided by Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society in its series 2003 Conference (47th), February 12-14, 2003, Fremantle, Australia with number 57841.

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Date of creation: Feb 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ags:aare03:57841
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  1. Morten Søberg, 2000. "Imperfect competition, sequential auctions, and emissions trading: An experimental evaluation," Discussion Papers 280, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  2. Hahn, Robert W., 1982. "Market Power and Transferable Property Rights," Working Papers 402, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
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  4. Jamie Brown-Kruse & Steven R Elliot & Rob Godby, 1995. "Strategic Manipulation of Pollution Permit Markets: An Experimental Approach," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-03, McMaster University.
  5. Richard Schmalensee & Paul L. Joskow & A. Denny Ellerman & Juan Pablo Montero & Elizabeth M. Bailey, 1998. "An Interim Evaluation of Sulfur Dioxide Emissions Trading," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 53-68, Summer.
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  8. Ledyard, John O. & Szakaly-Moore, Kristin, 1994. "Designing organizations for trading pollution rights," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 167-196, October.
  9. Maloney, Michael T. & Yandle, Bruce, 1984. "Estimation of the cost of air pollution control regulation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 244-263, September.
  10. Van Boening, Mark V & Wilcox, Nathaniel T, 1996. "Avoidable Cost: Ride a Double Auction Roller Coaster," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 461-77, June.
  11. Hizen, Y. & Saijo, T., 2000. "Price Desclosure, Marginal Abatement Cost Information and Market Power in a Bilateral GHG Emissions Trading Experiment," ISER Discussion Paper 0515, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  12. Bohm, Peter & Carlen, Bjorn, 1999. "Emission quota trade among the few: laboratory evidence of joint implementation among committed countries," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 43-66, January.
  13. Montgomery, W. David, 1972. "Markets in licenses and efficient pollution control programs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 395-418, December.
  14. Andrew Muller, R. & Mestelman, Stuart & Spraggon, John & Godby, Rob, 2002. "Can Double Auctions Control Monopoly and Monopsony Power in Emissions Trading Markets?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 70-92, July.
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