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An Experimental Analysis of Auctioning Emissions Allowances under a Loose Cap

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  • Shobe, William
  • Palmer, Karen

    () (Resources for the Future)

  • Myers, Erica
  • Holt, Charles
  • Goeree, Jacob
  • Burtraw, Dallas

    () (Resources for the Future)

Abstract

The direct sale of emissions allowances by auction is an emerging characteristic of cap-and-trade programs. This study is motivated by the observation that all of the major implementations of cap-and-trade regulations for the control of air pollution have started with a generous allocation of allowances relative to recent emissions history, a situation we refer to as a “loose cap.” Typically more stringent reductions are achieved in subsequent years of a program. We use an experimental setting to investigate the effects of a loose cap environment on a variety of auction types. We find all auction formats studied are efficient in allocating emissions allowances, but auction revenues tend to be lower relative to competitive benchmarks when the cap is loose. Regardless of whether the cap is tight or loose, the different auction formats tend to yield comparable revenues toward the end of a series of auctions. However, aggressive bidding behavior in initial discriminatory auctions yields higher revenues than in other auction formats, a difference that disappears as bidders learn to adjust their bids closer to the cutoff that separates winning and losing bids.

Suggested Citation

  • Shobe, William & Palmer, Karen & Myers, Erica & Holt, Charles & Goeree, Jacob & Burtraw, Dallas, 2006. "An Experimental Analysis of Auctioning Emissions Allowances under a Loose Cap," Discussion Papers dp-09-25, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-09-25
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Suzi Kerr & Richard G. Newell, 2003. "Policy-Induced Technology Adoption: Evidence from the U.S. Lead Phasedown," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 317-343, September.
    2. Porter, David & Rassenti, Stephen & Shobe, William & Smith, Vernon & Winn, Abel, 2009. "The design, testing and implementation of Virginia's NOx allowance auction," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 190-200, February.
    3. Morgenstern, Richard & Harrington, Winston & Nelson, Per-Kristian, 1999. "On the Accuracy of Regulatory Cost Estimates," Discussion Papers dp-99-18, Resources For the Future.
    4. Charles A. Holt & William Shobe & Dallas Burtraw & Karen Palmer & Jacob K. Goeree, 2007. "Auction Design for Selling CO2 Emission Allowances Under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative," Reports 2007-03, Center for Economic and Policy Studies.
    5. Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen & Krupnick, Alan & Evans, David & Toth, Russell, 2005. "Economics of Pollution Trading for SO2 and NOx," Discussion Papers dp-05-05, Resources For the Future.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Holt, Charles A. & Shobe, William M., 2016. "Reprint of: Price and quantity collars for stabilizing emission allowance prices: Laboratory experiments on the EU ETS market stability reserve," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 69-86.
    2. Liu, Yang & Han, Liyan & Yin, Ziqiao & Luo, Kongyi, 2017. "A competitive carbon emissions scheme with hybrid fiscal incentives: The evidence from a taxi industry," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 414-422.
    3. He, Haoran & Chen, Yefeng & Last Name, First Name, 2014. "Auction Mechanisms for Allocating Subsidies for Carbon Emissions Reduction: An Experimental Investigation," Discussion Papers dp-14-06-efd, Resources For the Future.
    4. Messer, Kent D. & Murphy, James J., 2010. "FOREWORD: Special Issue on Experimental Methods in Environmental, Natural Resource, and Agricultural Economics," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 39(2), April.
    5. Regina Betz & Ben Greiner & Sascha Schweitzer & Stefan Seifert, 2014. "Auction Format and Auction Sequence in Multi-Item Multi-Unit Auctions - An experimental study," Discussion Papers 2014-31, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
    6. Charles A. Holt & William M. Shobe, 2013. "Investigation of the Effects of Emission Market Design on the Market-Based Compliance Mechanism of the California Cap on Greenhouse Gas Emissions," Reports 2013-01, Center for Economic and Policy Studies.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    auction; carbon dioxide; greenhouse gases; allowance trading; Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative; RGGI; cap and trade;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions

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