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Multiple Pollutants, Uncovered Sectors, and Suboptimal Environmental Policies

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  • Don Fullerton
  • Daniel H. Karney

Abstract

In our analytical general equilibrium model where two polluting inputs can be substitutes or complements in production, we study the effects of a tax on one pollutant in two cases: one where both pollutants face taxes and the second where the other pollutant is subject to a permit policy. In each case, we solve for closed-form solutions that highlight important parameters. We demonstrate two important ways that environmental taxes and permits are not equivalent. First, the change in the pollutant facing a tax increase depends on whether the other pollutant is subject to a tax or permit policy. Second, if that other pollutant is subject to a tax, then general equilibrium effects can increase or decrease its quantity (affecting overall welfare). However, when the second pollutant is subject to a permit policy that binds, then welfare is not affected by this spillover effect. Finally, a numerical exercise helps demonstrate these two ways that taxes and permits differ. Using the example of coal-fired power plants, our numerical exercise examines the impacts of increasing a hypothetical carbon tax on the quantity of sulfur dioxide emissions.

Suggested Citation

  • Don Fullerton & Daniel H. Karney, 2014. "Multiple Pollutants, Uncovered Sectors, and Suboptimal Environmental Policies," NBER Working Papers 20334, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20334
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kathy Baylis & Don Fullerton & Daniel H. Karney, 2014. "Negative Leakage," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 51-73.
    2. Ambec, Stefan & Coria, Jessica, 2013. "Prices vs quantities with multiple pollutants," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 123-140.
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    4. Kevin A. Hassett & Aparna Mathur & Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2009. "The Incidence of a U.S. Carbon Tax: A Lifetime and Regional Analysis," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 155-178.
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    6. Don Fullerton & Garth Heutel, 2010. "The General Equilibrium Incidence of Environmental Mandates," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 64-89, August.
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    8. Hilary Sigman, 1996. "Cross-Media Pollution: Responses to Restrictions on Chlorinated Solvent Releases," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 72(3), pages 298-312.
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    17. Moslener, Ulf & Requate, Till, 2007. "Optimal abatement in dynamic multi-pollutant problems when pollutants can be complements or substitutes," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 2293-2316, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:resene:v:52:y:2018:i:c:p:124-136 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Guy Meunier, 2015. "Prices vs. quantities in presence of a second, unpriced, externality," Working Papers hal-01242040, HAL.
    3. Ambec, Stefan & Coria, Jessica, 2018. "Policy spillovers in the regulation of multiple pollutants," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 114-134.
    4. repec:kap:regeco:v:51:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11149-016-9314-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Karney, Daniel H., 2016. "General equilibrium models with Morishima elasticities of substitution in production," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 266-277.
    6. Antoniou, Fabio & Kyriakopoulou, Efthymia, 2015. "On The Strategic Effect of International Permits Trading on Local Pollution: The Case of Multiple Pollutants," Working Papers in Economics 610, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling

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