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Time-Inconsistent Environmental Policy And Optimal Delegation

Author

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  • Richard Mash
  • Cameron Hepburn
  • Dieter Helm

Abstract

Time consistency problems can arise when environmental taxes are employed to encourage firms to take irreversible abatement decisions. Setting a high carbon tax, for instance, would induce firms to invest in low-carbon technology, yet once investment has occurred the government can then reduce the carbon tax to better achieve other objectives; lower energy prices, redistribution, and electoral success. The resulting time inconsistency discourages firms from investing in the first place. We propose an institutional solution to this problem, adapted from the monetary policy literature; the commitment outcome can be achieved through delegation to an `environmental policymaker`, akin to a conservative central banker.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Mash & Cameron Hepburn & Dieter Helm, 2004. "Time-Inconsistent Environmental Policy And Optimal Delegation," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2004 14, Royal Economic Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:ac2004:14
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kenneth Rogoff, 1985. "The Optimal Degree of Commitment to an Intermediate Monetary Target," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1169-1189.
    2. J. E. Stiglitz & P. Dasgupta, 1971. "Differential Taxation, Public Goods, and Economic Efficiency," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 151-174.
    3. Poterba, James M, 1989. "Lifetime Incidence and the Distributional Burden of Excise Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 325-330, May.
    4. Dieter Helm & Cameron Hepburn & Richard Mash, 2003. "Credible Carbon Policy," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(3), pages 438-450.
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    6. Barro, Robert J. & Gordon, David B., 1983. "Rules, discretion and reputation in a model of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 101-121.
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    9. Gersbach, Hans & Glazer, Amihai, 1999. "Markets and Regulatory Hold-Up Problems," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 151-164, March.
    10. Charles L. Ballard & Don Fullerton, 1992. "Distortionary Taxes and the Provision of Public Goods," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 117-131, Summer.
    11. Metcalf, Gilbert E., 1999. "A Distributional Analysis of Green Tax Reforms," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 4), pages 655-82, December.
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    13. Metcalf, Gilbert E., 1999. "A Distributional Analysis of Green Tax Reforms," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 52(4), pages 655-682, December.
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    16. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-491, June.
    17. Marsiliani, Laura & Renstrom, Thomas I, 2000. "Time Inconsistency in Environmental Policy: Tax Earmarking as a Commitment Solution," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages 123-138, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Olga Chiappinelli & Karsten Neuhoff, 2017. "Time-Consistent Carbon Pricing," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1710, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    2. Paul Pichler & Gerhard Sorger, 2016. "The value of commitment and delegation for the control of greenhouse gas emissions," Vienna Economics Papers 1604, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
    3. Aekapol Chongvilaivan & Jung Hur, 2007. "Time-Inconsistent Domestic Environmental Policies and Optimal International Environmental Arrangements," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 163(4), pages 731-758, December.
    4. McGregor, Peter G. & Kim Swales, J. & Winning, Matthew A., 2012. "A review of the role and remit of the committee on climate change," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 466-473.
    5. Raphael Calel, 2011. "Market-based instruments and technology choices: a synthesis," GRI Working Papers 57, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    6. repec:eee:eecrev:v:101:y:2018:i:c:p:418-440 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Agnes d'Artigues & Jacques Percebois & Thierry Vignolo, 2007. "The Time-Inconsistency of Alternative Energy Policy," Economics Working Papers ECO2007/32, European University Institute.
    8. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:1:y:2007:i:1:p:1-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Florian Habermacher & Paul Lehmann, 2017. "Commitment vs. Discretion in Climate and Energy Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 6355, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Cameron Hepburn, 2006. "Regulation by Prices, Quantities, or Both: A Review of Instrument Choice," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(2), pages 226-247, Summer.
    11. Pichler, Paul & Sorger, Gerhard, 2018. "Delegating climate policy to a supranational authority: a theoretical assessment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 418-440.
    12. Thierry Vignolo & Jacques Percebois & Agnes dArtigues, 2007. "The time-inconsistency of alternative energy policy," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 1(1), pages 1-7.
    13. Joerg Breitscheidel & Hans Gersbach, 2005. "Self-Financing Environmental Mechanisms," CESifo Working Paper Series 1528, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy

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