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The role of environmental and technology policies in the transition to a low-carbon energy industry

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In a dynamic general equilibrium model we study the interplay between gradual and structural change in the transition to a low-carbon energy industry. We focus on the welfare-theoretic consequences of diverging social and private rates of time preference and a time-to-build feature in capital accumulation. Both features are particularly important in the transformation of energy systems. We show that only a combination of environmental and technology policies can achieve a socially optimal transition. We thus provide a new reason for environmental regulation to be complemented by technology policy such as a non-distortionary investment subsidy.

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  • Christoph Heinzel & Ralph Winkler, 2007. "The role of environmental and technology policies in the transition to a low-carbon energy industry," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 07/71, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:eth:wpswif:07-71
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gollier, Christian, 2002. "Discounting an uncertain future," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 149-166, August.
    2. Goulder, Lawrence H. & Mathai, Koshy, 2000. "Optimal CO2 Abatement in the Presence of Induced Technological Change," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 1-38, January.
    3. Asea, Patrick K. & Zak, Paul J., 1999. "Time-to-build and cycles," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 23(8), pages 1155-1175, August.
    4. van der Zwaan, B. C. C. & Gerlagh, R. & G. & Klaassen & Schrattenholzer, L., 2002. "Endogenous technological change in climate change modelling," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 1-19, January.
    5. Simon Grant & John Quiggin, 2003. "Public Investment and the Risk Premium for Equity," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 70(277), pages 1-18, February.
    6. Arrow, Kenneth J & Lind, Robert C, 1970. "Uncertainty and the Evaluation of Public Investment Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(3), pages 364-378, June.
    7. Ben Groom & Cameron Hepburn & Phoebe Koundouri & David Pearce, 2005. "Declining Discount Rates: The Long and the Short of it," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 32(4), pages 445-493, December.
    8. El-Hodiri, Mohamed A & Loehman, Edna & Whinston, Andrew B, 1972. "An Optimal Growth Model with Time Lags," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 40(6), pages 1137-1146, November.
    9. Goulder, Lawrence H. & Schneider, Stephen H., 1999. "Induced technological change and the attractiveness of CO2 abatement policies," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3-4), pages 211-253, August.
    10. Winkler, Ralph, 2005. "Structural change with joint production of consumption and environmental pollution: a neo-Austrian approach," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 111-135, March.
    11. Gerlagh, Reyer & van der Zwaan, Bob, 2003. "Gross world product and consumption in a global warming model with endogenous technological change," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 35-57, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ralph Winkler, 2008. "Optimal control of pollutants with delayed stock accumulation," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 08/91, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
    2. Heinzel, Christoph, 2008. "Implications of diverging social and private discount rates for investments in the German power industry: a new case for nuclear energy?," Dresden Discussion Paper Series in Economics 03/08, Technische Universit├Ąt Dresden, Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    environmental and technology policy; social vs. individual rates of time preference; time to build; gradual vs. structural technological change; energy industry;

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • H43 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate

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