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Prices versus Quantities versus Bankable Quantities

Author

Listed:
  • Harrison Fell
  • Ian A. MacKenzie
  • William A. Pizer

Abstract

Quantity-based regulation with banking allows regulated firms to shift obligations across time in response to periods of unexpectedly high or low marginal costs. Despite its wide prevalence in existing and proposed emission trading programs, banking has received limited attention in past welfare analyses of policy choice under uncertainty. We address this gap with a model of banking behavior that captures two key constraints: uncertainty about the future from the firm's perspective and a limit on negative bank values (e.g., borrowing). We show conditions where banking provisions reduce price volatility and lower expected costs compared to quantity policies without banking. For plausible parameter values related to U.S. climate change policy, we find that bankable quantities produce behavior quite similar to price policies for about two decades and, during this period, improve welfare by about a $1 billion per year over fixed quantities.

Suggested Citation

  • Harrison Fell & Ian A. MacKenzie & William A. Pizer, 2012. "Prices versus Quantities versus Bankable Quantities," NBER Working Papers 17878, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17878
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    JEL classification:

    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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