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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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Paper provided by Swedish National Road & Transport Research Institute (VTI) in its series Working Papers with number 2009:1.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 13 Jan 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:vtiwps:2009_001
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Contact details of provider: Postal: VTI, Transport Economics, P.O. Box 6056, SE-171 06 Solna, Sweden
Phone: +46-13-20 40 00
Fax: +46-13-14 14 36
Web page: http://www.vti.se/tek
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  1. Parry, Ian W. H. & Williams, Roberton III & Goulder, Lawrence H., 1999. "When Can Carbon Abatement Policies Increase Welfare? The Fundamental Role of Distorted Factor Markets," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 52-84, January.
  2. Bovenberg, A.L. & Goulder, L.H., 1996. "Optimal environmental taxation in the presence of other taxes : General equilibrium analyses," Other publications TiSEM 5d4b7517-c5c8-4ef6-ab76-3, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  3. Bovenberg, A.L. & de Mooij, R.A., 1994. "Environmental levies and distortionary taxation," Other publications TiSEM 4b32deaa-ec2f-4de7-b59b-9, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  4. Carolyn Fischer & Alan K. Fox, 2007. "Output-Based Allocation of Emissions Permits for Mitigating Tax and Trade Interactions," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 83(4), pages 575-599.
  5. A. Lans Bovenberg & Lawrence H. Goulder, 1994. "Optimal Environmental Taxation in the Presence of Other Taxes: General Equilibrium Analyses," NBER Working Papers 4897, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Ken Binmore & Paul Klemperer, 2001. "The Biggest Auction Ever: the Sale of the British 3G Telecom Licenses," Economics Papers 2002-W4, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford, revised 01 Sep 2001.
  7. Shane Frederick, 2005. "Cognitive Reflection and Decision Making," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 25-42, Fall.
  8. Plott, Charles R., . "Externalities and Corrective Policies in Experimental Markets," Working Papers 180, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  9. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-152985 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-73560 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521023894 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Irwin, Julie R, et al, 1998. "Payoff Dominance vs. Cognitive Transparency in Decision Making," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(2), pages 272-85, April.
  13. Fell, Harrison, 2008. "EU-ETS and Nordic Electricity: A CVAR Approach," Discussion Papers dp-08-31, Resources For the Future.
  14. Lawrence H. Goulder & Ian W. H. Parry & Roberton C. Williams III & Dallas Burtraw, 1998. "The Cost-Effectiveness of Alternative Instruments for Environmental Protection in a Second-Best Setting," NBER Working Papers 6464, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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