IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Bigger is Better: Avoided Deforestation Offsets in the Face of Adverse Selection

Listed author(s):
  • van Benthem, Arthur A.
  • Kerr, Suzi

Voluntary opt-in programs to reduce emissions in unregulated sectors or countries have spurred considerable discussion. Since any regulator will make errors in predicting baselines and participants will self-select into the program, adverse selection will reduce efficiency and possibly environmental integrity. In contrast, pure subsidies lead to full participation but require large financial transfers. We present a simple model to analyze this trade-off between adverse selection and infra-marginal transfers. We find that increasing the scale of voluntary programs both improves efficiency and reduces transfers. We show that discounting (paying less than full value for offsets) is inefficient and cannot be used to reduce the fraction of offsets that are spurious while setting stringent baselines generally can. Both approaches reduce the cost to the offsets buyer. The effects of two popular policy options are less favorable than many believe: Limiting the number of offsets that can be one-for-one exchanged with permits in a cap-and-trade system will lower the offset price but also quality. Trading ratios between offsets and allowances have ambiguous environmental effects if the cap is not properly adjusted. This paper frames the issues in terms of avoiding deforestation but the results are applicable to any voluntary offset program.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society in its series 2011 Conference (55th), February 8-11, 2011, Melbourne, Australia with number 100569.

in new window

Date of creation: 2011
Handle: RePEc:ags:aare11:100569
Contact details of provider: Postal:
AARES Central Office Manager, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU, Canberra ACT 0200

Phone: 0409 032 338
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:aare11:100569. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.