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Pollution Permit Systems and Firm Dynamics: Does the Allocation Scheme Matter?

Most cap-and-trade systems allocate permits for free. However, they differ dependent on whether closing plants and new entrants get free permits. I use a dynamic model with heterogeneous firms and equilibrium conditions in the output and emission market to quantify the effect on exit/entry, investment and welfare of different allocation rules. I calibrate the model with data from the power plants participating in the US SO2 program and quantify the effects of two allocation schemes: The US SO2 case, in which closing plants keep their permits and new entrants do not get any of them; The EU-ETS case, in which plants lose permits upon exit and new entrants get allowances. If the US switched to the EU-ETS allocation scheme, the price of output would be 1:5% lower, the price of permits 7.6% higher, and there would be a distribution of dirtier and less productive plants. Consumers are better off if the US switched to the EU-ETS system (lower price), while producers are better off with the US SO2 system (higher profits).

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Paper provided by Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines in its series ILADES-Georgetown University Working Papers with number inv294.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ila:ilades:inv294
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  1. Sterner, Thomas & Muller, Adrian, 2006. "Output and Abatement Effects of Allocation Readjustment in Permit Trade," Discussion Papers dp-06-49, Resources For the Future.
  2. Curtis Carlson & Dallas Burtraw & Maureen Cropper & Karen L. Palmer, 2000. "Sulfur Dioxide Control by Electric Utilities: What Are the Gains from Trade?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1292-1326, December.
  3. Ericson, Richard & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Markov-Perfect Industry Dynamics: A Framework for Empirical Work," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(1), pages 53-82, January.
  4. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341, 04.
  5. Goulder, Lawrence H. & Parry, Ian W. H. & Williams III, Roberton C. & Burtraw, Dallas, 1999. "The cost-effectiveness of alternative instruments for environmental protection in a second-best setting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 329-360, June.
  6. Meredith Fowlie & Mar Reguant & Stephen P. Ryan, 2012. "Market-Based Emissions Regulation and Industry Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 18645, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Jensen, Jesper & Rasmussen, Tobias N., 2000. "Allocation of CO2 Emissions Permits: A General Equilibrium Analysis of Policy Instruments," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 111-136, September.
  8. James Levinsohn & Amil Petrin, 2003. "Estimating Production Functions Using Inputs to Control for Unobservables," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 317-341.
  9. A. Denny Ellerman, 2008. "New Entrant and Closure Provisions: How do they Distort?," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Special I), pages 63-76.
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