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Emissions Variability in Tradable Permit Markets with Imperfect Enforcement and Banking

  • Timothy N. Cason
  • Lata Gangadharan

Unexpected variation in emissions can have a substantial impact on the prices and efficiency of tradable emission permit markets. In this paper we report results from a laboratory experiment in which subjects participate in an emissions trading market in the presence of emissions uncertainty. Subjects face exogenous, random positive or negative shocks to their emission levels after they make production and emission control plans. In some sessions we allow subjects to bank their unused permits for future use. In all sessions, subjects can trade in a reconciliation period to buy or sell extra permits following the shock realization. Subjects then report their emissions to the regulatory authority and they are placed in different inspection groups depending on their compliance history. The design of our experiment allows us to identify important interactions between emission shocks, banking, compliance and enforcement. We find that the relationship between emission shocks and price changes is significantly stronger without banking, so banking helps smooth out the price variability arising from the imperfect control of emissions. This greater price stability comes at a cost, however, since noncompliance and emissions are significantly greater when banking is allowed.

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Paper provided by The University of Melbourne in its series Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number 917.

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Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:917
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  1. Stranlund, John K. & Dhanda, Kanwalroop Kathy, 1999. "Endogenous Monitoring and Enforcement of a Transferable Emissions Permit System," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 267-282, November.
  2. Raymond, Mark, 1999. "Enforcement leverage when penalties are restricted: a reconsideration under asymmetric information," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(2), pages 289-295, August.
  3. Eckert, Heather, 2004. "Inspections, warnings, and compliance: the case of petroleum storage regulation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 232-259, March.
  4. 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.
  5. Harrington, Winston, 1988. "Enforcement leverage when penalties are restricted," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 29-53, October.
  6. Shaul Ben-David & David Brookshire & Stuart Burness & Michael McKee & Christian Schmidt, 2000. "Attitudes toward Risk and Compliance in Emission Permit Markets," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 76(4), pages 590-600.
  7. Timothy N. Cason & Lata Gangadharan, 2006. "An Experimental Study of Compliance and Leverage in Auditing and Regulatory Enforcement," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 44(2), pages 352-366, April.
  8. Landsberger, Michael & Meilijson, Isaac, 1982. "Incentive generating state dependent penalty system : The case of income tax evasion," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 333-352, December.
  9. Kling, Catherine & Rubin, Jonathan, 1997. "Bankable permits for the control of environmental pollution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 101-115, April.
  10. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  11. 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.
  12. Janusz Mrozek & Andrew Keeler, 2004. "Pooling of Uncertainty: Enforcing Tradable Permits Regulation when Emissions are Stochastic," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 29(4), pages 459-481, December.
  13. Greenberg, Joseph, 1984. "Avoiding tax avoidance: A (repeated) game-theoretic approach," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 1-13, February.
  14. Malik, Arun S., 1990. "Markets for pollution control when firms are noncompliant," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 97-106, March.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
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