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Voting on Prices vs. Voting on Quantities in a World Climate Assembly

Listed author(s):
  • Martin L. Weitzman

This paper posits the conceptually useful allegory of a futuristic "World Climate Assembly" that votes on global carbon emissions via the basic principle of majority rule. Two variants are considered. One is to vote on a universal price (or tax) that is internationally harmonized, but the proceeds from which are domestically retained. The other is to vote on the overall quantity of total worldwide emissions, which are then distributed for free (via a pre-decided fractional subdivision formula) as individual allowance permits that are subsequently marketed in an international cap-and-trade system. The model of the paper suggests that the majority-voted price is likely to be less distortionary and easier to enact than the majority-voted total quantity of permits. While the study is centered on a formal model, the tone of the policy discussion resembles more an exploratory think piece.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w20925.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 20925.

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Date of creation: Feb 2015
Publication status: published as Martin L. Weitzman, 2016. "Voting on Prices vs. Voting on Quantities in a World Climate Assembly," Research in Economics, .
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20925
Note: EEE
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  1. Martin L. Weitzman, 1974. "Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(4), pages 477-491.
  2. Gary D. Libecap, 2013. "Addressing Global Environmental Externalities: Transaction Costs Considerations," NBER Working Papers 19501, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Goulder, Lawrence H. & Hafstead, Marc A.C. & Dworsky, Michael, 2010. "Impacts of alternative emissions allowance allocation methods under a federal cap-and-trade program," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 161-181, November.
  4. Valentina Bosetti & Jeffrey Frankel, 2014. "Sustainable Cooperation In Global Climate Policy: Specific Formulas And Emission Targets," Climate Change Economics (CCE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 5(03), pages 1-34.
  5. Lawrence H. Goulder & Andrew Schein, 2013. "Carbon Taxes vs. Cap and Trade: A Critical Review," NBER Working Papers 19338, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Barrett, Scott, 2005. "Environment and Statecraft: The Strategy of Environmental Treaty-Making," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199286096.
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