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Multiple Pollutants, Uncovered Sectors, and Suboptimal Environmental Policies

Listed author(s):
  • Don Fullerton
  • Daniel H. Karney

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.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w20334.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 20334.

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Date of creation: Jul 2014
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20334
Note: EEE PE
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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.
  3. Martin L. Weitzman, 1974. "Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(4), pages 477-491.
  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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  7. Fullerton, Don & Heutel, Garth, 2007. "The general equilibrium incidence of environmental taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 571-591, April.
  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.
  9. Ren, Xiaolin & Fullerton, Don & Braden, John B., 2011. "Optimal taxation of externalities interacting through markets: A theoretical general equilibrium analysis," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 496-514, September.
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  13. 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.
  14. Muller, Nicholas Z., 2014. "Using index numbers for deflation in environmental accounting," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 19(04), pages 466-486, August.
  15. Gamper-Rabindran, Shanti, 2006. "Did the EPA's voluntary industrial toxics program reduce emissions? A GIS analysis of distributional impacts and by-media analysis of substitution," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 391-410, July.
  16. Richard S. J. Tol, 2009. "The Economic Effects of Climate Change," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(2), pages 29-51, Spring.
  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.
  18. 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.
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