IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

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


  • Fowlie, Meredith
  • Perloff, Jeffrey M.


According to the Coase theorem, if property rights to pollute are clearly established and emissions permit markets nearly eliminate transaction costs, the permit market equilibrium will be independent of how the permits are initially distributed among …firms. Testing the independence of …firms' permit allocations and emissions is difficult because of endogeneity and omitted variable bias. We exploit the random assignment of …firms to different permit allocation cycles in Southern California's RECLAIM Program to test for a causal relationship between facility-level emissions and initial permit allocations. Our primary …finding is that a null hypothesis of zero effect cannot be rejected.

Suggested Citation

  • Fowlie, Meredith & Perloff, Jeffrey M., 2008. "Distributing Pollution Rights in Cap-and-Trade Programs: Are Outcomes Independent of Allocation?," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt70f62476, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:agrebk:qt70f62476

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:;origin=repeccitec
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    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.
    3. James H. Stock & Motohiro Yogo, 2002. "Testing for Weak Instruments in Linear IV Regression," NBER Technical Working Papers 0284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Stavins Robert N., 1995. "Transaction Costs and Tradeable Permits," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 133-148, September.
    5. Semykina, Anastasia & Wooldridge, Jeffrey M., 2010. "Estimating panel data models in the presence of endogeneity and selection," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 157(2), pages 375-380, August.
    6. Montero, Juan-Pablo & Sanchez, Jose Miguel & Katz, Ricardo, 2002. "A Market-Based Environmental Policy Experiment in Chile," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(1), pages 267-287, April.
    7. Lata Gangadharan, 2000. "Transaction Costs in Pollution Markets: An Empirical Study," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 76(4), pages 601-614.
    8. Michael Ari Prager & Thomas H. Klier & Richard H. Mattoon, 1996. "A mixed bag: assessment of market performance and firm trading behavior in the NOx RECLAIM program," Working Paper Series, Regional Economic Issues WP-96-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    9. Shaul Ben-David & David Brookshire & Stuart Burness & Michael McKee & Christian Schmidt, 2000. "Attitudes toward Risk and Compliance in Emission Permit Markets," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 76(4), pages 590-600.
    10. Arellano, M, 1987. "Computing Robust Standard Errors for Within-Groups Estimators," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 49(4), pages 431-434, November.
    11. Montero, Juan-Pablo, 1998. "Marketable pollution permits with uncertainty and transaction costs," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 27-50, March.
    12. Stranlund, John K & Chavez, Carlos A, 2000. "Effective Enforcement of a Transferable Emissions Permit System with a Self-Reporting Requirement," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 113-131, September.
    13. Scott Lee Johnson & David M. Pekelney, 1996. "Economic Assessment of the Regional Clean Air Incentives Market: A New Emissions Trading Program for Los Angeles," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 72(3), pages 277-297.
    14. Robert W. Hahn, 1984. "Market Power and Transferable Property Rights," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 99(4), pages 753-765.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    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. 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).
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Andreas Leibbrandt & John Lynham, 2017. "Does the Allocation of Property Rights Matter in the Commons?," Monash Economics Working Papers 04-17, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    8. repec:eee:enepol:v:107:y:2017:i:c:p:337-344 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    air pollution; emissions trading; transaction costs;

    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


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cdl:agrebk:qt70f62476. 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: (Lisa Schiff). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.