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Pollution Regulation and the Efficiency Gains from Technological Innovation


  • Parry, Ian

    () (Resources for the Future)


Previous studies suggest that emissions taxes are more efficient at stimulating the development of improved pollution abatement technologies than other policy instruments, such as (non-auctioned) tradable emissions permits. We present results from a competitive model that cast some doubt on the empirical importance of this assertion. For example, we find that efficiency in the market for "environmental R&D" under tradable permits is typically less than 6 percent lower than that under an emissions tax for innovations that reduce pollution abatement costs by 10 percent or less. However the discrepancy is more significant in the case of more major innovations. We also find that the presence of R&D spillovers per se does not necessarily imply large inefficiency in the R&D market. For example, efficiency in the R&D market under a Pigouvian emissions tax is generally more than 90 percent of that in the first best outcome if the private benefit from innovation exceeds 50 percent of the social benefit. Thus the R&D spillover effect must substantially limit the private benefit from R&D in our analysis for there be a potentially "large" efficiency gain from additional policies such as research subsidies to stimulate innovation.

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  • Parry, Ian, 1997. "Pollution Regulation and the Efficiency Gains from Technological Innovation," Discussion Papers dp-98-04, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-98-04

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jaffe Adam B. & Stavins Robert N., 1995. "Dynamic Incentives of Environmental Regulations: The Effects of Alternative Policy Instruments on Technology Diffusion," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 43-63, November.
    2. 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.
    3. Partha Dasgupta & Joseph Stiglitz, 1980. "Uncertainty, Industrial Structure, and the Speed of R&D," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 11(1), pages 1-28, Spring.
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    5. Biglaiser, Gary & Horowitz, John K, 1995. "Pollution Regulation and Incentives for Pollution-Control Research," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(4), pages 663-684, Winter.
    6. Tom Lee & Louis L. Wilde, 1980. "Market Structure and Innovation: A Reformulation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(2), pages 429-436.
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    10. Jung, Chulho & Krutilla, Kerry & Boyd, Roy, 1996. "Incentives for Advanced Pollution Abatement Technology at the Industry Level: An Evaluation of Policy Alternatives," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 95-111, January.
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    12. Wright, Brian Davern, 1983. "The Economics of Invention Incentives: Patents, Prizes, and Research Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 691-707, September.
    13. Cropper, Maureen L & Oates, Wallace E, 1992. "Environmental Economics: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(2), pages 675-740, June.
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    15. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1987. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial Research and Development," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(3, Specia), pages 783-832.
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    JEL classification:

    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L22 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Organization and Market Structure
    • L68 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Appliances; Furniture; Other Consumer Durables

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