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Voluntary Corporate Climate Initiatives and Regulatory Loom: Batten Down the Hatches

Author

Listed:
  • Dragan Ilic

    (University of Basel, Switzerland)

  • Janick Christian Mollet

    (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)

Abstract

The rationale of voluntary corporate initiatives is often explained with anticipation of future regulation. We test this hypothesis for the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) and the Climate Leaders (CL), two popular voluntary US environmental programs to curb carbon emission that were operating during a decisive regulatory event. In 2009 the Waxman-Markey Bill surprisingly passed the House of Representatives and brought the US economy a big step closer to a nationwide CO2 emission trading system. In an event study we assess how the stock market adjusted prices when the likelihood of CO2 regulation unexpectedly increased. We develop a simple model to investigate the empirical results. Our findings suggest that only membership in the CCX was considered beneficial, an initiative whose market oriented design happened to dovetail with the bill’s. Earlier stock market reactions to membership announcements in these voluntary programs paint a complementary picture. But membership alone cannot account for the entire price adjustments. Our results show that a substantial part of the market reaction can be traced back to industry-wide effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Dragan Ilic & Janick Christian Mollet, 2016. "Voluntary Corporate Climate Initiatives and Regulatory Loom: Batten Down the Hatches," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 16/261, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:eth:wpswif:16-261
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Voluntary markets; permit markets; climate change; greenhouse gas emissions; CO2; corporate social responsibility; shareholder wealth;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • G38 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Government Policy and Regulation
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • 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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