IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Heterogeneity in Costs and Second-Best Policies for Environmental Protection


  • Burtraw, Dallas

    () (Resources for the Future)

  • Cannon, Matthew


This paper investigates heterogeneity in pollution abatement costs using a computable general equilibrium framework. Previous literature using aggregated data has found that "grandfathered" tradable permits are dominated by other instruments including emission taxes, performance standards, and technology mandates because of interactions with pre-existing taxes. However, when the underlying costs of abatement are heterogeneous, a disaggregate representation of costs yields qualitatively different findings. In a disaggregate model of NOX abatement in the United States, the relative performance of tradable permits improves significantly and out-performs command and control approaches over a wide range of emission reductions.

Suggested Citation

  • Burtraw, Dallas & Cannon, Matthew, 2000. "Heterogeneity in Costs and Second-Best Policies for Environmental Protection," Discussion Papers dp-00-20, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-00-20

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bovenberg, A Lans & Goulder, Lawrence H, 1996. "Optimal Environmental Taxation in the Presence of Other Taxes: General-Equilibrium Analyses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 985-1000, September.
    2. de Bovenberg, A Lans & Mooij, Ruud A, 1994. "Environmental Levies and Distortionary Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 1085-1089, September.
    3. Goulder, Lawrence H. & Parry, Ian W. H. & Williams III, Roberton C. & Burtraw, Dallas, 1999. "The cost-effectiveness of alternative instruments for environmental protection in a second-best setting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 329-360, June.
    4. Bovenberg, A.L. & Goulder, L.H., 1996. "Optimal environmental taxation in the presence of other taxes : General equilibrium analyses," Other publications TiSEM 5d4b7517-c5c8-4ef6-ab76-3, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    5. Fullerton, Don & Metcalf, Gilbert E., 2001. "Environmental controls, scarcity rents, and pre-existing distortions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 249-267, May.
    6. Parry Ian W. H., 1995. "Pollution Taxes and Revenue Recycling," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 64-77, November.
    7. Brita Bye & Karine Nyborg, 1999. "The Welfare Effects of Carbon Policies: Grandfathered Quotas versus Differentiated Taxes," Discussion Papers 261, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    8. McKitrick, Ross, 1999. "A Derivation of the Marginal Abatement Cost Curve," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 306-314, May.
    9. 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.
    10. Parry, Ian W. H. & Williams, Roberton III & Goulder, Lawrence H., 1999. "When Can Carbon Abatement Policies Increase Welfare? The Fundamental Role of Distorted Factor Markets," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 52-84, January.
    11. Rutherford, Thomas F., 1995. "Extension of GAMS for complementarity problems arising in applied economic analysis," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 19(8), pages 1299-1324, November.
    12. Parry, Ian W. H. & Williams III, Roberton C., 1999. "A second-best evaluation of eight policy instruments to reduce carbon emissions," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3-4), pages 347-373, August.
    13. Carraro, Carlo & Galeotti, Marzio & Gallo, Massimo, 1996. "Environmental taxation and unemployment: Some evidence on the 'double dividend hypothesis' in Europe," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1-2), pages 141-181, October.
    14. Bovenberg, A Lans & de Mooij, Ruud A, 1997. "Environmental Levies and Distortionary Taxation: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 252-253, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


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

    Cited by:

    1. Parry, Ian W. H., 2004. "Are emissions permits regressive?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 364-387, March.
    2. Kerry Smith, V. & Sieg, Holger & Spencer Banzhaf, H. & Walsh, Randall P., 2004. "General equilibrium benefits for environmental improvements: projected ozone reductions under EPA's Prospective Analysis for the Los Angeles air basin," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 559-584, May.
    3. Burtraw, Dallas & Evans, David, 2003. "The Evolution of NOx Control Policy for Coal-Fired Power Plants in the United States," Discussion Papers dp-03-23, Resources For the Future.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:rff:dpaper:dp-00-20. 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: (Webmaster). General contact details of provider: .

    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.