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Mechanism design for refunding emissions payment

We analyze two mechanism designs for refunding emission payments to polluting firms; Output Based (OB) and Expenditure Based (EB) refunding. In both instruments, emissions fees are returned to the polluting industry, possibly making the policy more easily accepted by policymakers than a standard tax. The crucial difference between OB and EB is that the fees are refunded in proportion to output in the former, but in proportion to the firms’ expenditure on abatement equipment in the latter. We show that to achieve a given abatement target, the fee level in the OB design exceeds the standard tax rate, whereas the fee level in the EB design is lower. Furthermore, the use of OB and EB refunding may lead to large differences in the distribution of costs across firms. Both designs do, strictly speaking, imply a cost-ineffective provision of abatement as firms put relatively too much effort into reducing emissions through abatement technology compared with emission reductions through reduced output. However, this may be seen as an advantage by policymakers if they seek to avoid activity reduction in the regulated sector. We provide some numerical illustrations based on abatement cost information from the Norwegian NOx fund.

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Paper provided by Research Department of Statistics Norway in its series Discussion Papers with number 705.

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Date of creation: Sep 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:705
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  1. Hoel, Michael, 1991. "Global environmental problems: The effects of unilateral actions taken by one country," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 55-70, January.
  2. Walls, Margaret & Palmer, Karen, 2001. "Upstream Pollution, Downstream Waste Disposal, and the Design of Comprehensive Environmental Policies," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 94-108, January.
  3. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521311120 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Fredriksson, Per G. & Sterner, Thomas, 2005. "The political economy of refunded emissions payment programs," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 113-119, April.
  5. Carolyn Fischer & Alan K. Fox, 2007. "Output-Based Allocation of Emissions Permits for Mitigating Tax and Trade Interactions," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 83(4), pages 575-599.
  6. Fischer, Carolyn, 2003. "Market Power and Output-Based Refunding of Environmental Policy Revenues," Discussion Papers dp-03-27, Resources For the Future.
  7. Adam Jaffe & Richard Newell & Robert Stavins, 2002. "Environmental Policy and Technological Change," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 22(1), pages 41-70, June.
  8. 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.
  9. Isaksson, Lena Hoglund, 2005. "Abatement costs in response to the Swedish charge on nitrogen oxide emissions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 102-120, July.
  10. Sterner, Thomas & Turnheim, Bruno, 2009. "Innovation and diffusion of environmental technology: Industrial NOx abatement in Sweden under refunded emission payments," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(12), pages 2996-3006, October.
  11. Kallbekken, Steffen & Kroll, Stephan & Cherry, Todd L., 2011. "Do you not like Pigou, or do you not understand him? Tax aversion and revenue recycling in the lab," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 53-64, July.
  12. Katrin Millock & Céline Nauges & Thomas Sterner, 2004. "Environmental Taxes: A Comparison of French and Swedish Experience from Taxes on Industrial Air Pollution," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 2(1), pages 30-34, 04.
  13. Gersbach, Hans & Requate, Till, 2004. "Emission taxes and optimal refunding schemes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 713-725, March.
  14. Edwards, T. Huw. & Hutton, John P., 2001. "Allocation of carbon permits within a country: a general equilibrium analysis of the United Kingdom," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 371-386, July.
  15. Löschel, Andreas & Moslener, Ulf & Rübbelke, Dirk T.G., 2010. "Indicators of energy security in industrialised countries," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 1665-1671, April.
  16. Susumu Cato, 2010. "Emission Taxes and Optimal Refunding Schemes with Endogenous Market Structure," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 46(3), pages 275-280, July.
  17. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521322249 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Requate, Till, 2005. "Dynamic incentives by environmental policy instruments--a survey," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2-3), pages 175-195, August.
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