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The Pollution Game: A Classroom Exercise Demonstrating the Relative Effectiveness of Emissions Taxes and Tradable Permits

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  • Jay R. Corrigan

Abstract

This classroom exercise illustrates the strengths and weaknesses of various regulatory frameworks aimed at internalizing negative externalities from pollution. Specifically, the exercise divides students into three groups—the government regulatory agency and two polluting firms—and allows them to work through a system of uniform command-and-control regulation, a tradable emissions permit framework, and an emissions tax. Students have the opportunity to observe how flexible, market-oriented regulatory frameworks can outperform inflexible command-and-control. More importantly given the ongoing debate about how best to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, students can also observe how the introduction of abatement-cost uncertainty can cause one market-oriented solution to outperform another.

Suggested Citation

  • Jay R. Corrigan, 2009. "The Pollution Game: A Classroom Exercise Demonstrating the Relative Effectiveness of Emissions Taxes and Tradable Permits," Working Papers 0902, Kenyon College, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ken:wpaper:0902
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    File URL: http://economics.kenyon.edu/corrigan/publications/Pollution%20Game.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Warwick J. McKibbin & Peter J. Wilcoxen, 2002. "The Role of Economics in Climate Change Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 107-129, Spring.
    2. Joskow, Paul L & Schmalensee, Richard, 1998. "The Political Economy of Market-Based Environmental Policy: The U.S. Acid Rain Program," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(1), pages 37-83, April.
    3. Robert N. Stavins, 1998. "What Can We Learn from the Grand Policy Experiment? Lessons from SO2 Allowance Trading," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 69-88, Summer.
    4. Richard Schmalensee & Paul L. Joskow & A. Denny Ellerman & Juan Pablo Montero & Elizabeth M. Bailey, 1998. "An Interim Evaluation of Sulfur Dioxide Emissions Trading," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 53-68, Summer.
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    Keywords

    classroom experiments; emissions taxes; pollution; tradable emissions permits;

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