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The Political Economy of Carbon Securities and Environmental Policy


  • Polborn, Sarah

    () (Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business)


The costs of the current suboptimal carbon abatement policy are likely in the range of 3 to 6 trillion 2005 US dollars. Using methods from the political economy of environmental policy, the paper develops a new carbon abatement policy instrument, carbon securities. A carbon security entitles its owner to a fixed proportion of ex ante unknown total emissions. This creates an additional group of stakeholders on the side of the issue that has traditionally been underrepresented. The advantages over existing systems include an equilibrium carbon price closer to the social optimum, a more predictable environmental policy, and higher investment in abatement technology

Suggested Citation

  • Polborn, Sarah, 2011. "The Political Economy of Carbon Securities and Environmental Policy," Working Papers 10-19, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:aareco:2010_019

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Markussen, Peter & Svendsen, Gert Tinggaard, 2005. "Industry lobbying and the political economy of GHG trade in the European Union," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 245-255, January.
    2. Brian C. Murray & Richard G. Newell & William A. Pizer, 2009. "Balancing Cost and Emissions Certainty: An Allowance Reserve for Cap-and-Trade," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 3(1), pages 84-103, Winter.
    3. Oates, Wallace E. & Portney, Paul R., 2003. "The political economy of environmental policy," Handbook of Environmental Economics,in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 325-354 Elsevier.
    4. Warwick J. McKibbin & Peter J. Wilcoxen, 2002. "The Role of Economics in Climate Change Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 107-129, Spring.
    5. Webster, Mort & Sue Wing, Ian & Jakobovits, Lisa, 2010. "Second-best instruments for near-term climate policy: Intensity targets vs. the safety valve," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 250-259, May.
    6. Aidt, Toke S., 1998. "Political internalization of economic externalities and environmental policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 1-16, July.
    7. Paul Ekins & Stefan Speck, 1999. "Competitiveness and Exemptions From Environmental Taxes in Europe," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 13(4), pages 369-396, June.
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    More about this item


    Carbon abatement; environmental policy; global warming; interest groups; lobbying; policy instrument design; political process;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • 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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