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Imperfect Enforcement of Emissions Trading and Industry Welfare: A Laboratory Investigation

Author

Listed:
  • John Stranlund

    () (Department of Resource Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst)

  • James J. Murphy

    () (Department of Economics, University of Alaska Anchorage)

  • John M. Spraggon

    () (Department of Resource Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst)

  • John K. Stranlund

Abstract

This paper uses laboratory experiments to investigate the performance of emission permit markets when compliance is imperfectly enforced. In particular we examine deviations in observed aggregate payoffs and expected penalties from those derived from a model of risk-neutral payoff-maximizing firms. We find that the experimental emissions markets were reasonably efficient at allocating individual emission control choices despite imperfect enforcement and significant noncompliance. However, violations and expected penalties were lower than predicted when these are predicted to be high, but were about the same as predicted values when these values were predicted to be low. Thus, although a standard model of compliance with emissions trading programs tends to predict significantly higher violations than we observe when subjects have strong incentives to violate their emissions permits, individual emissions control responsibilities are distributed among firms as predicted.

Suggested Citation

  • John Stranlund & James J. Murphy & John M. Spraggon & John K. Stranlund, 2012. "Imperfect Enforcement of Emissions Trading and Industry Welfare: A Laboratory Investigation," Working Papers 2012-06, University of Alaska Anchorage, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ala:wpaper:2012-06
    as

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    File URL: http://www.econpapers.uaa.alaska.edu/RePEC/ala/wpaper/ALA201206.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. John Stranlund, 2007. "The regulatory choice of noncompliance in emissions trading programs," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 38(1), pages 99-117, September.
    2. Malik, Arun S, 1992. "Enforcement Costs and the Choice of Policy Instruments for Controlling Pollution," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 30(4), pages 714-721, October.
    3. Murphy, James J. & Stranlund, John K., 2007. "A laboratory investigation of compliance behavior under tradable emissions rights: Implications for targeted enforcement," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 196-212, March.
    4. Cason, Timothy N. & Gangadharan, Lata, 2006. "Emissions variability in tradable permit markets with imperfect enforcement and banking," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 199-216, October.
    5. Torgler, Benno, 2002. " Speaking to Theorists and Searching for Facts: Tax Morale and Tax Compliance in Experiments," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(5), pages 657-683, December.
    6. Malik, Arun S., 1990. "Markets for pollution control when firms are noncompliant," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 97-106, March.
    7. James Alm & Michael McKee, 1998. "Extending the lessons of laboratory experiments on tax compliance to managerial and decision economics," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(4-5), pages 259-275.
    8. Keeler, Andrew G., 1991. "Noncompliant firms in transferable discharge permit markets: Some extensions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 180-189, September.
    9. Montgomery, W. David, 1972. "Markets in licenses and efficient pollution control programs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 395-418, December.
    10. Stranlund, John K. & Dhanda, Kanwalroop Kathy, 1999. "Endogenous Monitoring and Enforcement of a Transferable Emissions Permit System," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 267-282, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stranlund, John K. & Murphy, James J. & Spraggon, John M., 2011. "An experimental analysis of compliance in dynamic emissions markets," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 414-429.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    experimental economics; laboratory experiments; emissions trading; enforcement;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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