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Real Effects of Climate Policy: Financial Constraints and Spillovers

Author

Listed:
  • Bartram, Sohnke M.

    (Warwick Business School - Department of Finance)

  • Hou, Kewei

    (Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Finance)

  • Kim, Sehoon

    (University of Florida - Department of Finance, Insurance and Real Estate)

Abstract

We document that localized policies designed to mitigate climate risk can lead to regulatory arbitrage by firms, resulting in unintended consequences. Using detailed plant level data, we investigate the impact of the most extensive regional climate policy in the United States, the California cap-and-trade program, on corporate real activities such as greenhouse gas emissions and plant ownership. We show that industrial plants governed by the policy reduce emissions in California when the parent company is financially constrained, but that these firms internally reallocate their emissions to plants located in other states. Similarly, constrained firms are more likely to reduce ownership in Californian plants and increase ownership in plants outside California. In contrast, unconstrained firms generally do not adjust plant emissions and ownership either in California or in other states. Overall, firms do not reduce their total emissions when part of their assets are affected by the regulation, but in fact increase them if financially constrained. The results document real spillover effects stemming from resource reallocations by constrained firms to avoid regulatory costs, undermining the effectiveness of localized policies. Our study has important implications for the current debate on global climate policy agreements.

Suggested Citation

  • Bartram, Sohnke M. & Hou, Kewei & Kim, Sehoon, 2018. "Real Effects of Climate Policy: Financial Constraints and Spillovers," Working Paper Series 2019-04, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:ohidic:2019-04
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    File URL: http://ssrn.com/abstract=3262211
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    Cited by:

    1. Itzhak Ben-David & Stefanie Kleimeier & Michael Viehs, 2018. "Exporting Pollution: Where Do Multinational Firms Emit CO 2 ?," NBER Working Papers 25063, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G18 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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