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Competition and Regulation as a Means of Reducing CO2 Emissions: Experience from U.S. Fossil Fuel Power Plants

Author

Listed:
  • Christian Growitsch

    () (University of Hamburg)

  • Simon Paulus

    () (University of Cologne)

  • Heike Wetzel

    () (University of Kassel)

Abstract

Levels of CO2 emissions from electricity generation in the U.S. have changed considerably in the last decade. This development can be attributed to two factors. First, the shale gas revolution has reduced gas prices significantly, leading to a crowding out of the more CO2-intensive coal for electricity generation. Secondly, environmental regulations have been tightened at both the federal and the state level. In this article, we analyze the relative CO2 emission performance across 48 states in the U.S. using a two-stage empirical approach. In the first stage, we identify the states that followed best practice between 2000 and 2013, by applying nonparametric benchmarking techniques. In the second stage, we regress our CO2 emission performance indicators on the state-specific national gas prices, the states’ CO2 regulatory policies and a number of other state-specific factors in order to identify the main drivers of the developments. We find that the CO2 emission performance improved on average by 15% across all states from 2000 to 2013. Furthermore, our second-stage results support the argument that decreasing natural gas prices and stringent regulatory measures, such as cap-and-trade programs, have a positive impact on the state-specific CO2 emission performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Growitsch & Simon Paulus & Heike Wetzel, 2017. "Competition and Regulation as a Means of Reducing CO2 Emissions: Experience from U.S. Fossil Fuel Power Plants," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201709, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  • Handle: RePEc:mar:magkse:201709
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Pastor, Jesus T. & Lovell, C.A. Knox, 2005. "A global Malmquist productivity index," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 266-271, August.
    2. Welch, Eric & Barnum, Darold, 2009. "Joint environmental and cost efficiency analysis of electricity generation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(8-9), pages 2336-2343, June.
    3. Zhou, P. & Ang, B.W. & Poh, K.L., 2008. "A survey of data envelopment analysis in energy and environmental studies," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 189(1), pages 1-18, August.
    4. Sueyoshi, Toshiyuki & Goto, Mika, 2013. "Returns to scale vs. damages to scale in data envelopment analysis: An impact of U.S. clean air act on coal-fired power plants," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 164-175.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Carbon dioxide emission performance; data envelopment analysis; global Malmquist index; environmental regulation;

    JEL classification:

    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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