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Pricing Strategies Under Emissions Trading: An Experimental Analysis




An important feature in the design of an emissions trading program is how emissions allowances are initially distributed into the market. In a competitive market the choice between an auction and free allocation should, according to economic theory, not have any influence on firms’ production choices nor on consumer prices. However, many observers expect the method of allocation to affect product prices. This paper reports on the use of experimental methods to investigate behavior with respect to how prices will be determined under a cap-and-trade program. Participants initially display a variety of pricing strategies. However, given a simple economic setting in which earnings depend on this behavior, we find that subjects learn to consider the value of allowances and overall behavior moves toward that predicted by economic theory.

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  • Mandell, Svante & Wråke, Markus & Myers, Erica C. & Burtraw, Dallas & Holt, Charles A., 2009. "Pricing Strategies Under Emissions Trading: An Experimental Analysis," Working Papers 2009:1, Swedish National Road & Transport Research Institute (VTI).
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:vtiwps:2009_001 Note: The link refers to RFF's server.

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Dormady, Noah C., 2014. "Carbon auctions, energy markets & market power: An experimental analysis," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 468-482.
    2. Charles Holt & Erica Myers & Markus Wrake & Dallas Burtraw & Svante Mandell, 2010. "Teaching Opportunity Cost in an Emissions Permit Experiment," International Review of Economic Education, Economics Network, University of Bristol, vol. 9(2), pages 34-42.
    3. Hasson, Reviva & Löfgren, Åsa & Visser, Martine, 2010. "Climate change in a public goods game: Investment decision in mitigation versus adaptation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 331-338, December.
    4. Luca Taschini & Marc Chesney & Mei Wang, 2014. "Experimental comparison between markets on dynamic permit trading and investment in irreversible abatement with and without non-regulated companies," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 46(1), pages 23-50, August.
    5. Dormady, Noah C., 2013. "Market power in cap-and-trade auctions: A Monte Carlo approach," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 788-797.
    6. Veronika Grimm & Lyuba Ilieva, 2013. "An experiment on emissions trading: the effect of different allocation mechanisms," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 308-338, December.

    More about this item


    carbon dioxide; climate change; emissions trading; distributional effects; electricity; allocation; auctions;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions

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