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Market Power in Emission Permit Markets: Theory and Evidence

  • Beat Hintermann

A well-known result about market power in emission permit markets is that efficiency can be achieved by full free allocation to the dominant firm. I show that this result breaks down when taking the interaction between input and output markets into account, even if the firm perceives market power in the permit market alone. In fact, the dominant firm may have an incentive to inflate the permit price even if it receives no free permits at all. I examine the empirical evidence for price manipulation by large electricity firms during Phase I of the EU ETS. I find that the pattern and extent of firms’ allowance holdings are consistent with strategic price manipulation, and they appear unlikely to be the result of precautionary purchases due to carbon risk.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4447.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4447
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  1. Zhao, Jinhua, 2000. "Irreversible Abatement Investment Under Cost Uncertainties: Tradable Emission Permits And Emissions Charges," 2000 Annual meeting, July 30-August 2, Tampa, FL 21816, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  2. Matti Liski & Juan-Pablo Montero, 2005. "A Note on Market Power in an Emission Permits Market with Banking," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 31(2), pages 159-173, 06.
  3. Krattenmaker, Thomas G & Salop, Steven C, 1986. "Competition and Cooperation in the Market for Exclusionary Rights," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 109-13, May.
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  7. Böhringer, Christoph & Lange, Andreas, 2003. "On the Design of Optimal Grandfathering Schemes for Emission Allowances," ZEW Discussion Papers 03-08, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  8. Avinash K. Dixit & Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Investment under Uncertainty," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 5474, 06-2016.
  9. Misiolek, Walter S. & Elder, Harold W., 1989. "Exclusionary manipulation of markets for pollution rights," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 156-166, March.
  10. Bard Harstad & Gunnar S. Eskeland, 2006. "Trading for the Future: Signaling in Permit Markets," Discussion Papers 1429, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  11. Neuhoff, K. & Keats, K. & Sato, M., 2006. "Allocation, incentives and distortions: the impact of EU ETS emissions allowance allocations to the electricity sector," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0642, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  12. Oberndorfer, Ulrich, 2009. "EU Emission Allowances and the stock market: Evidence from the electricity industry," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(4), pages 1116-1126, February.
  13. Jos Sijm & Karsten Neuhoff & Yihsu Chen, 2006. "CO 2 cost pass-through and windfall profits in the power sector," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 49-72, January.
  14. Stuart Mestelman & Andrew Muller, 1997. "What Have We Learned From Emissions Trading Experiments?," McMaster Experimental Economics Laboratory Publications 1997-03, McMaster University.
  15. Dafna Eshel, 2005. "Optimal Allocation of Tradable Pollution Rights and Market Structures," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 205-223, 09.
  16. Robert W. Hahn, 1984. "Market Power and Transferable Property Rights," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 99(4), pages 753-765.
  17. Hintermann, Beat, 2010. "Allowance price drivers in the first phase of the EU ETS," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 43-56, January.
  18. Jūratė Jaraitė & Frank Convery & Corrado Di Maria, 2010. "Transaction costs for firms in the EU ETS: lessons from Ireland," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(2), pages 190-215, March.
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