IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/18801.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Market-based Emissions Regulation When Damages Vary Across Sources: What Are the Gains from Differentiation?

Author

Listed:
  • Meredith Fowlie
  • Nicholas Muller

Abstract

Much of the air pollution currently regulated under U.S. emissions trading programs is non-uniformly mixed, meaning that health and environmental damages depend on the location and dispersion characteristics of the sources. Existing policy regimes ignore this fact. Emissions are penalized at a single permit price, regardless of the location of the source. In theory, differentiated policies can be designed to accommodate non-uniformly mixed pollution using emissions penalties that vary with emissions damages. Under perfect certainty, damage-based policy differentiation is unambiguously welfare improving. In the presence of uncertainty about damages and abatement costs, differentiated policies need not welfare dominate simpler, undifferentiated designs. Using rich data from a major U.S. emissions trading program, we estimate the welfare impacts of policy differentiation. Surprisingly, we find that differentiated emissions trading results in welfare loss as compared to the undifferentiated trading regime that was implemented. This result manifests because ex post realized abatement costs appear to have exceeded expectations. We further show that, in this context, a differentiated price-based policy welfare dominates the differentiated quantity-based alternative.

Suggested Citation

  • Meredith Fowlie & Nicholas Muller, 2013. "Market-based Emissions Regulation When Damages Vary Across Sources: What Are the Gains from Differentiation?," NBER Working Papers 18801, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18801
    Note: EEE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w18801.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Fishelson, Gideon, 1976. "Emission control policies under uncertainty," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 189-197, October.
    2. Martin L. Weitzman, 1974. "Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(4), pages 477-491.
    3. Richard D. Horan & James S. Shortle, 2005. "When Two Wrongs Make a Right: Second-Best Point-Nonpoint Trading Ratios," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 87(2), pages 340-352.
    4. Montgomery, W. David, 1972. "Markets in licenses and efficient pollution control programs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 395-418, December.
    5. R. Scott Farrow & Martin T. Schultz & Pinar Celikkol & George L. Van Houtven, 2005. "Pollution Trading in Water Quality Limited Areas: Use of Benefits Assessment and Cost-Effective Trading Ratios," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 81(2).
    6. Katrin Millock & CĂ©line Nauges & Thomas Sterner, 2004. "Environmental Taxes: A Comparison of French and Swedish Experience from Taxes on Industrial Air Pollution," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 2(1), pages 30-34, 04.
    7. Mendelsohn, Robert, 1986. "Regulating heterogeneous emissions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 301-312, December.
    8. Tom Tietenberg, 1995. "Tradeable permits for pollution control when emission location matters: What have we learned?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 5(2), pages 95-113, March.
    9. Baumol,William J. & Oates,Wallace E., 1988. "The Theory of Environmental Policy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521322249.
    10. Peter A. Diamond, 1973. "Consumption Externalities and Imperfect Corrective Pricing," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 4(2), pages 526-538, Autumn.
    11. Muller Nicholas Z, 2011. "Linking Policy to Statistical Uncertainty in Air Pollution Damages," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-29, June.
    12. Stavins, Robert N., 2005. "Lessons Learned from SO2 Allowance Trading," Choices, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 20(1).
    13. Joskow, Paul L & Schmalensee, Richard & Bailey, Elizabeth M, 1998. "The Market for Sulfur Dioxide Emissions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 669-685, September.
    14. Curtis Carlson & Dallas Burtraw & Maureen Cropper & Karen L. Palmer, 2000. "Sulfur Dioxide Control by Electric Utilities: What Are the Gains from Trade?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1292-1326, December.
    15. Meredith Fowlie & Stephen P. Holland & Erin T. Mansur, 2012. "What Do Emissions Markets Deliver and to Whom? Evidence from Southern California's NOx Trading Program," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 965-993, April.
    16. Fullerton, Don & McDermott, Shaun P. & Caulkins, Jonathan P., 1997. "Sulfur Dioxide Compliance of a Regulated Utility," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 32-53, September.
    17. Olivier Deschenes & Michael Greenstone & Joseph S. Shapiro, 2012. "Defensive Investments and the Demand for Air Quality: Evidence from the NOx Budget Program and Ozone Reductions," NBER Working Papers 18267, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Joshua Linn, 2008. "Technological Modifications in the Nitrogen Oxides Tradable Permit Program," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 153-176.
    19. Meredith Fowlie, 2010. "Emissions Trading, Electricity Restructuring, and Investment in Pollution Abatement," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 837-869, June.
    20. Nicholas Z. Muller & Robert Mendelsohn, 2009. "Efficient Pollution Regulation: Getting the Prices Right," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 1714-1739, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Frans P. Vries & Nick Hanley, 2016. "Incentive-Based Policy Design for Pollution Control and Biodiversity Conservation: A Review," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 63(4), pages 687-702, April.
    2. Craig, Michael & McDonald-Buller, Elena & Webster, Mort, 2016. "Technology adoption under time-differentiated market-based instruments for pollution control," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 23-34.
    3. Burnett, J. Wesley, 2016. "Club convergence and clustering of U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 62-84.
    4. repec:spt:admaec:v:8:y:2018:i:1:f:8_1_5 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Wichsinee Wibulpolprasert, 2016. "Optimal Environmental Policies And Renewable Energy Investment: Evidence From The Texas Electricity Market," Climate Change Economics (CCE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 7(04), pages 1-41, November.
    6. Holland, Stephen P. & Yates, Andrew J., 2015. "Optimal trading ratios for pollution permit markets," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 16-27.
    7. Werner Antweiler, 2017. "Emission trading for air pollution hot spots: getting the permit market right," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 19(1), pages 35-58, January.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18801. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: () or (Joanne Lustig). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.