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Optimal Environmental Policy Design In The Presence Of Uncertainty And Technology Spillovers

Author

Listed:
  • Patrick Himmes
  • Christoph Weber

    (Chair for Management Sciences and Energy Economics, University of Duisburg-Essen)

Abstract

The stylized model presented in this paper extends the approach developed by Fischer and Newell (2008) by analysing the optimal policy design in a context with more than one externality while taking explicitly into account uncertainty surrounding future emission damage costs. In the presence of massive uncertainties and technology spillovers, well-designed sup-port mechanisms for renewables are found to play a major role, notably as a means for compensating for technology spillovers, yet also for reducing the investors’ risks. How-ever, the design of these support mechanisms needs to be target-aimed and well-focused. Besides uncertainty on the state of the world concerning actual marginal emission damage, we consider the technological progress through R&D as well as learning-by-doing. A portfolio of three policy instruments is then needed to cope with the existing externalities and optimal instrument choice is shown to be dependent on risk aversion of society as a whole as well as of entrepreneurs. To illustrate the role of uncertainty for the practical choice of policy instruments, an em-pirical application is considered. The application is calibrated to recent global data from IEA and thus allows identifying the main drivers for the optimal policy mix. In addition to assumptions on technology costs and uncertainty of emission damage cost, the impor-tance of technology spillover clearly plays a key role. Yet under some plausible parame-ter settings, direct subsidies to production are found to be of lower importance than very substantial R&D supports.

Suggested Citation

  • Patrick Himmes & Christoph Weber, 2011. "Optimal Environmental Policy Design In The Presence Of Uncertainty And Technology Spillovers," EWL Working Papers 1102, University of Duisburg-Essen, Chair for Management Science and Energy Economics, revised Mar 2011.
  • Handle: RePEc:dui:wpaper:1102
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bläsi, Albrecht & Requate, Till, 2007. "Subsidies for Wind Power: Surfing down the Learning Curve?," Economics Working Papers 2007-28, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
    2. Jaffe, Adam B. & Newell, Richard G. & Stavins, Robert N., 2005. "A tale of two market failures: Technology and environmental policy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2-3), pages 164-174, August.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. Haradhan Kumar Mohajan, 2011. "Optimal Environmental Taxes Due to Health Effect," KASBIT Business Journals (KBJ), Khadim Ali Shah Bukhari Institute of Technology (KASBIT), vol. 4, pages 1-19, December.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Externality; technology; learning; uncertainty; climate change; spillover; renewable energy; policy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy
    • Q21 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy

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