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Offsetting versus Mitigation Activities to Reduce CO2 Emissions: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis for the U.S. and Germany

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Abstract

This paper studies the voluntary provision of public goods that is partially driven by a desire to offset for individual polluting activities. We first extend existing theory and show that offsets allow a reduction in effective environmental pollution levels while not necessarily extending the consumption of a polluting good. We further show a nonmonotonic income-pollution relationship and derive comparative static results for the impact of an increasing environmental preference on purchases of offsets and mitigation activities. Several theoretical results are then econometrically tested using a novel data set on activities to reduce CO2 emissions for the case of vehicle purchases in the U.S. and Germany. We show that an increased environmental preference triggers the use of CO2 offsetting and mitigation channels in both countries. However, we find strong country differences for the purchase of CO2 offsets. While such activities are already triggered by a high general awareness of the climate change problem in the U.S., driver’s license holders in Germany need to additionally perceive road traffic as being responsible for CO2 emissions to a large extent.

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  • Andreas Lange & Andreas Ziegler, 2012. "Offsetting versus Mitigation Activities to Reduce CO2 Emissions: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis for the U.S. and Germany," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 12/161, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:eth:wpswif:12-161
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    1. Borsch-Supan, Axel & Hajivassiliou, Vassilis A., 1993. "Smooth unbiased multivariate probability simulators for maximum likelihood estimation of limited dependent variable models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, pages 347-368.
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    4. Andreoni, James & Levinson, Arik, 2001. "The simple analytics of the environmental Kuznets curve," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 269-286.
    5. Matthew J. Kotchen, 2009. "Voluntary Provision of Public Goods for Bads: A Theory of Environmental Offsets," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(537), pages 883-899, April.
    6. MacKerron, George J. & Egerton, Catrin & Gaskell, Christopher & Parpia, Aimie & Mourato, Susana, 2009. "Willingness to pay for carbon offset certification and co-benefits among (high-)flying young adults in the UK," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 1372-1381, April.
    7. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-1458, December.
    8. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-477, June.
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    10. White, Halbert, 1982. "Maximum Likelihood Estimation of Misspecified Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 1-25, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Claudia Schwirplies & Andreas Ziegler, 2015. "Offset carbon emissions or pay a price premium for avoiding them? A cross-country analysis of motives for climate protection activities," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201504, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    2. Julia Blasch & Mehdi Farsi, 2012. "Retail demand for voluntary carbon offsets - A choice experiment among Swiss consumers," IED Working paper 12-18, IED Institute for Environmental Decisions, ETH Zurich.
    3. Stühmeier Torben, 2015. "Price Disclosure Rules and Consumer Price Comparison," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, pages 815-835.
    4. Andreas Hoepner & Ioannis Oikonomou & Bert Scholtens & Michael Schröder, 2016. "The Effects of Corporate and Country Sustainability Characteristics on The Cost of Debt: An International Investigation," Journal of Business Finance & Accounting, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(1-2), pages 158-190, January.
    5. Kesternich, Martin & Löschel, Andreas & Römer, Daniel, 2016. "The long-term impact of matching and rebate subsidies when public goods are impure: Field experimental evidence from the carbon offsetting market," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 70-78.
    6. Blasch, Julia & Ohndorf, Markus, 2015. "Altruism, moral norms and social approval: Joint determinants of individual offset behavior," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 251-260.
    7. Andreas Lange & Claudia Schwirplies & Andreas Ziegler, 2014. "On the interrelation between carbon offsetting and other voluntary climate protection activities: Theory and empirical evidence," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201447, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    public good; voluntary provision; climate change; CO2 offsetting; vehicle purchase; discrete choice models;

    JEL classification:

    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities
    • C35 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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