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Implications of Alternative Emission Trading Plans: Experimental Evidence

  • Neil J. Buckley
  • S. Mestelman
  • Andrew Muller

Two approaches to emissions trading are cap-and-trade, in which an aggregate cap on emissions is distributed in the form of emission allowances and baseline-and-credit, in which firms earn emission reduction credits for emissions below their baselines. Theoretical considerations suggest the long-run equilibria of the two plans will differ if baselines are proportional to output, because a variable baseline is equivalent to an output subsidy. To test this prediction we have developed a computerized environment in which subjects representing firms can adjust both their emission rates (per unit output) and capacity levels. Subjects buy or sell emission rights (allowances or credits) in a sealed bid call auction. The demand for output is simulated. All decisions are tracked through a double-entry bookkeeping system. This environment is to be used to compare short and long run responses to the alternative trading methods. Initial experiments in this environment will alternately hold emission rate and capacity choice constant. We report on six experimental sessions with variable emissions rates but fixed capacity and two pilot sessions with variable capacity but fixed emission rates.

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File URL: http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/econ/rsrch/papers/archive/2004-07.pdf
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Paper provided by McMaster University in its series Department of Economics Working Papers with number 2004-07.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mcm:deptwp:2004-07
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  1. R. Andrew Muller & Stuart Mestelman, 1998. "What have we learned from emissions trading experiments?," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(4-5), pages 225-238.
  2. Neil J. Buckley, 2004. "Short-Run Implications of Cap-and-Trade versus Baseline-and-Credit Emission Trading Plans: Experimental Evidence," McMaster Experimental Economics Laboratory Publications 2004-03, McMaster University.
  3. Neil J. Buckley & R. Andrew Muller & Stuart Mestelman, 2003. "Long-Run Implications of Alternative Emission Trading Plans: An Experiment with Robot Traders," McMaster Experimental Economics Laboratory Publications 2003-03, McMaster University.
  4. Cason, Timothy N. & Gangadharan, Lata, 2006. "Emissions variability in tradable permit markets with imperfect enforcement and banking," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 199-216, October.
  5. Neil J. Buckley, 2004. "Short-Run Implications of Cap-and-Trade versus Baseline-and-Credit Emission Trading Plans: Experimental Evidence," Department of Economics Working Papers 2004-05, McMaster University.
  6. Murphy, James J. & Stranlund, John K., 2006. "Direct and market effects of enforcing emissions trading programs: An experimental analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 217-233, October.
  7. Fischer, Carolyn, 2001. "Rebating Environmental Policy Revenues: Output-Based Allocations and Tradable Performance Standards," Discussion Papers dp-01-22, Resources For the Future.
  8. Bohm, Peter, 2003. "Experimental evaluations of policy instruments," Handbook of Environmental Economics, in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 10, pages 437-460 Elsevier.
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