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Output and Abatement Effects of Allocation Readjustment in Permit Trade

  • Sterner, Thomas
  • Muller, Adrian

In permit trading systems, free initial allocation is common practice. A recent example is the European Union Greenhouse Gas Emission Trading Scheme (EU-ETS). We investigate effects of different free allocation schemes on incentives and identify significant perverse effects on abatement and output employing a simple multi-period model. Firms have incentives for strategic action if allocation in one period depends on their actions in previous ones and thus can be influenced by them. These findings play a major role where trading schemes become increasingly popular as environmental or resource use policy instruments. This is of particular relevance in the EU-ETS, where the current period is a trial-period before the first commitment period of the Kyoto protocol. Finally, this paper fills a gap in the literature by establishing a consistent terminology for initial allocation.

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Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-06-49.

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Date of creation: 26 Oct 2006
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-06-49
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  1. Donald N. Dewees, 2000. "Emissions Trading: ERCs or Allowances," Working Papers dewees-00-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  2. Bergland, Harald & Clark, Derek J. & Pedersen, Pal Andreas, 2002. "Rent-seeking and quota regulation of a renewable resource," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 263-279, June.
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  4. Carolyn Fischer, 2003. "Combining rate-based and cap-and-trade emissions policies," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(sup2), pages S89-S103, December.
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  8. Gersbach, Hans & Requate, Till, 2004. "Emission taxes and optimal refunding schemes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 713-725, March.
  9. Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen & Kahn, Daniel, 2005. "CO2 Allowance Allocation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the Effect on Electricity Investors," Discussion Papers dp-05-55, Resources For the Future.
  10. Burtraw, Dallas & Parry, Ian & Goulder, Lawrence & Williams III, Roberton, 1998. "The Cost-Effectiveness of Alternative Instruments for Environmental Protection in a Second-Best Setting," Discussion Papers dp-98-22, Resources For the Future.
  11. Joskow, Paul L & Schmalensee, Richard, 1998. "The Political Economy of Market-Based Environmental Policy: The U.S. Acid Rain Program," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(1), pages 37-83, April.
  12. Fredriksson, Per G. & Sterner, Thomas, 2004. "The Political Economy of Refunded Emissions Payment Programs," Working Papers in Economics 147, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  13. Fischer, Carolyn & Fox, Alan, 2004. "Output-Based Allocations of Emissions Permits: Efficiency and Distributional Effects in a General Equilibrium Setting with Taxes and Trade," Discussion Papers dp-04-37, Resources For the Future.
  14. 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.
  15. Hans Gersbach, 2002. "How to get firms to invest: A simple solution to the hold-up problem in regulation," Review of Economic Design, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 45-56.
  16. William Nordhaus, 2005. "Life After Kyoto: Alternative Approaches to Global Warming," NBER Working Papers 11889, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Svendsen, Gert Tinggaard & Daugbjerg, Carsten & Hjollund, Lene & Pedersen, Anders Branth, 2001. "Consumers, industrialists and the political economy of green taxation: CO2 taxation in OECD," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 489-497, May.
  18. Sterner, Thomas & Hoglund Isaksson, Lena, 2006. "Refunded emission payments theory, distribution of costs, and Swedish experience of NOx abatement," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 93-106, April.
  19. Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen & Bharvirkar, Ranjit & Paul, Anthony, 2001. "The Effect of Allowance Allocation on the Cost of Carbon Emission Trading," Discussion Papers dp-01-30-, Resources For the Future.
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