IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Environmental policy and incentives to adopt abatement technologies under endogenous uncertainty


  • Federico Boffa
  • Stefano Clò
  • Alessio D'Amato


We compare a carbon tax and a cap and trade mechanism in their propensity to induce carbon-reducing technological adoption, when investments are undertaken under uncertainty. In our setting, risk-neutral firms affect the variance and the correlation of the shocks they are exposed to through their technological choice,making uncertainty endogenous. We find that uncertainty associated with a given technology always impacts expected profits under a carbon tax, while under a cap and trade this is the case only as long as the shocks are not correlated across the firms; if,instead, shocks are perfectly correlated,uncertainty has no impact on profits. As a result, we show that, while under a carbon tax, initially symmetric firms tend to have symmetric strategies in equilibrium (either of adoption, or non adoption), a cap and trade system might also induce asymmetric adoption. Finally, we discuss several policy applications of our work, including an analysis of the effects of combining feed-in tariffs with carbon tax or cap and trade.

Suggested Citation

  • Federico Boffa & Stefano Clò & Alessio D'Amato, 2013. "Environmental policy and incentives to adopt abatement technologies under endogenous uncertainty," Working Papers 5, Department of the Treasury, Ministry of the Economy and of Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:itt:wpaper:2013-5

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Weber, Thomas A. & Neuhoff, Karsten, 2010. "Carbon markets and technological innovation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 115-132, September.
    2. Fishelson, Gideon, 1976. "Emission control policies under uncertainty," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 189-197, October.
    3. Martin L. Weitzman, 1974. "Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(4), pages 477-491.
    4. Parry, Ian W H, 1998. "Pollution Regulation and the Efficiency Gains from Technological Innovation," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 229-254, November.
    5. Wood, Peter John & Jotzo, Frank, 2011. "Price floors for emissions trading," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 1746-1753, March.
    6. repec:reg:rpubli:70 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Pindyck, Robert S, 1991. "Irreversibility, Uncertainty, and Investment," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(3), pages 1110-1148, September.
    8. Perino, Grischa & Requate, Till, 2012. "Does more stringent environmental regulation induce or reduce technology adoption? When the rate of technology adoption is inverted U-shaped," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 456-467.
    9. Christoph Böhringer & Knut Rosendahl, 2010. "Green promotes the dirtiest: on the interaction between black and green quotas in energy markets," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 316-325, June.
    10. Stavins, Robert N., 2003. "Experience with market-based environmental policy instruments," Handbook of Environmental Economics,in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 9, pages 355-435 Elsevier.
    11. Yihsu Chen & Chung-Li Tseng, 2011. "Inducing Clean Technology in the Electricity Sector: Tradable Permits or Carbon Tax Policies?," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 169-174.
    12. Hassett, Kevin A & Metcalf, Gilbert E., 1996. "Can irreversibility explain the slow diffusion of energy saving technologies?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 7-8, January.
    13. Cameron Hepburn, 2006. "Regulation by Prices, Quantities, or Both: A Review of Instrument Choice," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(2), pages 226-247, Summer.
    14. Innes, Robert, 2003. "Stochastic pollution, costly sanctions, and optimality of emission permit banking," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 546-568, May.
    15. Fell, Harrison & Burtraw, Dallas & Morgenstern, Richard D. & Palmer, Karen L., 2012. "Soft and hard price collars in a cap-and-trade system: A comparative analysis," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 183-198.
    16. Jung, Chulho & Krutilla, Kerry & Boyd, Roy, 1996. "Incentives for Advanced Pollution Abatement Technology at the Industry Level: An Evaluation of Policy Alternatives," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 95-111, January.
    17. Grüll, Georg & Taschini, Luca, 2011. "Cap-and-trade properties under different hybrid scheme designs," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 107-118, January.
    18. Meredith Fowlie & Stephen P. Holland & Erin T. Mansur, 2012. "What Do Emissions Markets Deliver and to Whom? Evidence from Southern California's NOx Trading Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 965-993, April.
    19. Milgrom, Paul R & Weber, Robert J, 1982. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1089-1122, September.
    20. Amundsen, Eirik S. & Mortensen, Jorgen Birk, 2001. "The Danish Green Certificate System: some simple analytical results," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 489-509, September.
    21. Baldursson, Fridrik M & von der Fehr, N.-H.M.Nils-Henrik M, 2004. "Price volatility and risk exposure: on market-based environmental policy instruments," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 682-704, July.
    22. McAfee, R Preston & McMillan, John, 1987. "Auctions and Bidding," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 25(2), pages 699-738, June.
    23. Requate, Till & Unold, Wolfram, 2003. "Environmental policy incentives to adopt advanced abatement technology:: Will the true ranking please stand up?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 125-146, February.
    24. Karsten Neuhoff & Markus Åhman & Regina Betz & Johanna Cludius & Federico Ferrario & Kristina Holmgren & Gabriella Pal & Michael Grubb & Felix Matthes & Karoline Rogge & Misato Sato & Joachim Schleich, 2006. "Implications of announced phase II national allocation plans for the EU ETS," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(4), pages 411-422, July.
    25. Adar, Zvi & Griffin, James M., 1976. "Uncertainty and the choice of pollution control instruments," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 178-188, October.
    26. Milliman, Scott R. & Prince, Raymond, 1989. "Firm incentives to promote technological change in pollution control," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 247-265, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    carbon tax; cap and trade; technology adoption; endogenous uncertainty;

    JEL classification:

    • L5 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    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:itt:wpaper:2013-5. 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: (Michele Petrocelli). 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.