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Optimal Emission Pricing in the Presence of International Spillovers: Decomposing Leakage and Terms-of-Trade Motives

  • Christoph Böhringer
  • Andreas Lange
  • Thomas F. Rutherford

Carbon control policies in OECD countries commonly differentiate emission prices in favor of energy-intensive industries. While leakage provides a efficiency argument for differential emission pricing, the latter may be a disguised beggar-thy-neighbor policy to exploit terms of trade. Using an optimal tax framework, we propose a method to decompose the leakage motive and the terms-of-trade motive for emission price differentiation. We illustrate our method with a quantitative impact assessment of unilateral climate policies for the U.S. and EU economies. We conclude in these instances that complex optimal emission price differentiation does not substantially reduce the overall economic costs of carbon abatement compared with a simple rule of uniform emission pricing.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15899.

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Date of creation: Apr 2010
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Publication status: published as Böhringer, Christoph & Lange, Andreas & Rutherford, Thomas F., 2014. "Optimal emission pricing in the presence of international spillovers: Decomposing leakage and terms-of-trade motives," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 101-111.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15899
Note: EEE
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  1. Hoel, Michael, 1996. "Should a carbon tax be differentiated across sectors?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 17-32, January.
  2. Azusa OKAGAWA & Kanemi BAN, 2008. "Estimation of substitution elasticities for CGE models," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 08-16, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
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  7. Markusen, James R., 1975. "International externalities and optimal tax structures," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 15-29, February.
  8. Böhringer, Christoph & Balistreri, Edward J. & Rutherford, Thomas F., 2012. "The role of border carbon adjustment in unilateral climate policy: Overview of an Energy Modeling Forum study (EMF 29)," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(S2), pages S97-S110.
  9. Christoph Böhringer & Thomas F. Rutherford, 2010. "The Costs of Compliance: A CGE Assessment of Canada's Policy Options under the Kyoto Protocol," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(2), pages 177-211, 02.
  10. Ringlund, Guro Bornes & Rosendahl, Knut Einar & Skjerpen, Terje, 2008. "Does oilrig activity react to oil price changes An empirical investigation," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 371-396, March.
  11. Christoph Böhringer & Thomas Rutherford, 2002. "Carbon Abatement and International Spillovers," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 22(3), pages 391-417, July.
  12. Böhringer, Christoph & Rutherford, Thomas F. & Tol, Richard S. J., 2009. "The EU 20/20/2020 Targets: An Overview of the EMF22 Assessment," Papers WP325, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
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