IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Optimal Design of Permit Markets with an Ex Ante Pollution Target



In this paper, we examine the design of permit trading programs when the objective is to minimize the cost of achieving an ex ante pollution target, that is, one that is defined in expectation rather than an ex post deterministic value. We consider two potential sources of uncertainty, the presence of either of which can make our model appropriate: incomplete information on abatement costs and uncertain delivery coefficients. In such a setting, we find three distinct features that depart from the well-established results on permit trading: (1) the regulator's information on firms' abatement costs can matter; (2) the optimal permit cap is not necessarily equal to the ex ante pollution target; and (3) the optimal trading ratio is not necessarily equal to the delivery coefficient even when it is known with certainty. Intuitively, since the regulator is only required to meet a pollution target on average, she can set the trading ratio and total permit cap such that there will be more pollution when abatement costs are high and less pollution when abatement costs are low. Information on firms' abatement costs is important in order for the regulator to induce the optimal alignment between pollution level and abatement costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Sergey Rabotyagov & Hongli Feng & Catherine L. Kling, 2006. "Optimal Design of Permit Markets with an Ex Ante Pollution Target," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 06-wp430, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:ias:cpaper:06-wp430

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Full Text
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    File Function: Online Synopsis
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Richard D. Horan & James S. Shortle, 2005. "When Two Wrongs Make a Right: Second-Best Point-Nonpoint Trading Ratios," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 87(2), pages 340-352.
    2. Montgomery, W. David, 1972. "Markets in licenses and efficient pollution control programs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 395-418, December.
    3. Arun S. Malik & David Letson & Stephen R. Crutchfield, 1993. "Point/Nonpoint Source Trading of Pollution Abatement: Choosing the Right Trading Ratio," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 75(4), pages 959-967.
    4. Richard D. Horan, 2001. "Differences in Social and Public Risk Perceptions and Conflicting Impacts on Point/Nonpoint Trading Ratios," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(4), pages 934-941.
    5. Segerson, Kathleen, 1988. "Uncertainty and incentives for nonpoint pollution control," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 87-98, March.
    6. Baumol,William J. & Oates,Wallace E., 1988. "The Theory of Environmental Policy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521322249, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    delivery coefficient; ex ante pollution target; ex post pollution target; permit trading; total permit cap; trading ratio.;

    JEL classification:

    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ias:cpaper:06-wp430. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.