Computing Business-as-Usual with a Representative Agent and a Pollution Externality
Computing the no-policy equilibrium (business-as-usual) in a representative-agent (RA) model is complicated by the presence of a pollution externality, since simple optimization internalizes the pollution cost. Many researchers use ad hoc methods, but there is no way to know how reliable these are. A solution is presented in which the RA model is divided into N identical components, each identified with its own agent. Agents play a dynamic game, leading to a Nash equilibrium. For sufficiently large N, this approach keeps most of the pollution cost external, and in the limit it is equivalent to a myopic-firms model, in which the entire cost is external. This approach has the advantage of theoretical consistency, and empirical applications indicate that it is easily implemented.
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