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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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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2013/wp-cesifo-2013-10/cesifo1_wp4447.pdf
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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. 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.
  2. Matti Liski & Juan-Pablo Montero, 2003. "A Note on Market Power in an Emission Permits Market with Banking," Documentos de Trabajo 236, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
  3. Harstad, Bård & Eskeland, Gunnar S., 2010. "Trading for the future: Signaling in permit markets," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 749-760, October.
  4. Dafna Eshel, 2005. "Optimal Allocation of Tradable Pollution Rights and Market Structures," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 205-223, 09.
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  6. 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.
  7. Beat Hintermann, 2009. "Allowance Price Drivers in the First Phase of the EU ETS," CEPE Working paper series 09-63, CEPE Center for Energy Policy and Economics, ETH Zurich.
  8. Frank Convery, 2009. "Origins and Development of the EU ETS," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 43(3), pages 391-412, July.
  9. Stuart Mestelman & Andrew Muller, 1997. "What Have We Learned From Emissions Trading Experiments?," McMaster Experimental Economics Laboratory Publications 1997-03, McMaster University.
  10. Robert Godby, 2002. "Market Power in Laboratory Emission Permit Markets," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 23(3), pages 279-318, November.
  11. Hahn, Robert W, 1984. "Market Power and Transferable Property Rights," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 99(4), pages 753-65, November.
  12. Seifert, Jan & Uhrig-Homburg, Marliese & Wagner, Michael, 2008. "Dynamic behavior of CO2 spot prices," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 180-194, September.
  13. 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.
  14. Karsten Neuhoff & Kim Keats Martinez & Misato Sato, 2006. "Allocation, incentives and distortions: the impact of EU ETS emissions allowance allocations to the electricity sector," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 73-91, January.
  15. Zhao, Jinhua, 2003. "Irreversible abatement investment under cost uncertainties: tradable emission permits and emissions charges," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2765-2789, December.
  16. Bohringer, Christoph & Lange, Andreas, 2005. "On the design of optimal grandfathering schemes for emission allowances," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(8), pages 2041-2055, November.
  17. Avinash K. Dixit & Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Investment under Uncertainty," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 5474, April.
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