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What Have We Learned From Emissions Trading Experiments?

  • Stuart Mestelman
  • Andrew Muller

Emissions trading is a form of environmental regulation in which a regulatory body specifies the total allowable discharge of pollutants, divides this cap into individual permits assigned to individual polluters, and allows trading of the resulting permits. Laboratory experiments, in which paid subjects participate in controlled markets, can be used to test both proposals for emission trading and the theories on which they are based. This paper surveys the laboratory research that has investigated the efficiency of emission trading programs, role of alternative instruments and institutions, the effects of allowing firms to carry inventories of permits, and the extent to which market power can be exercised.

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Paper provided by McMaster University in its series McMaster Experimental Economics Laboratory Publications with number 1997-03.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Mar 1997
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mcm:mceelp:1997-03
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  1. Plott, Charles R., . "Externalities and Corrective Policies in Experimental Markets," Working Papers 180, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  2. Stuart Mestelman & Andrew Muller, 1997. "Emissions Trading with Shares and Coupons when Control over Discharges is Uncertain," McMaster Experimental Economics Laboratory Publications 1997-01, McMaster University.
  3. Hahn, Robert W, 1989. "Economic Prescriptions for Environmental Problems: How the Patient Followed the Doctor's Orders," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 95-114, Spring.
  4. Cason, Timothy N, 1995. "An Experimental Investigation of the Seller Incentives in the EPA's Emission Trading Auction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 905-22, September.
  5. Cason, Timothy N. & Plott, Charles R., 1996. "EPA's New Emissions Trading Mechanism: A Laboratory Evaluation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 133-160, March.
  6. Ledyard, John O. & Szakaly, Kristin E., . "Designing Organizations for Trading Pollution Rights," Working Papers 838, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  7. R. Andrew Muller & Stuart Mestelman, 1994. "Emission Trading with Shares and Coupons: A Laboratory Experiment," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 185-211.
  8. Cason Timothy N., 1993. "Seller Incentive Properties of EPA's Emission Trading Auction," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 177-195, September.
  9. Stuart Mestelman & Rob Moir & Andrew Muller, 1998. "A Laboratory Test of Canadian Proposals for an Emission Trading Program," McMaster Experimental Economics Laboratory Publications 1998-03, McMaster University.
  10. Jamie Brown-Kruse & Steven R Elliot & Rob Godby, 1995. "Strategic Manipulation of Pollution Permit Markets: An Experimental Approach," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-03, McMaster University.
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