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Emissions Control and the Regulation of Product Markets: The Case of Automobiles

  • Rasha Ahmed

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Kathleen Segerson

    (University of Connecticut)

The paper investigates alternative policies to regulate emissions from polluting product markets, specifically considering the case of the automobiles market. The two policies we consider are: a quota that limits the quantity produced of the polluting model and a more flexible average efficiency standard that requires a minimum energy efficiency across all models produced by a firm, similar to the US Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. We use a duopoly model of vertical differentiation where firms produce both an economy (i.e., low polluting) version and a luxury (i.e., high polluting) version of a given product. We show that while a quota can raise firm profit over a certain range, CAFE always reduces firm profit relative to the pre-regulation. We also show that while the quota reduces emissions, it is possible that emissions increase under CAFE. The optimal policy choice will depend on the magnitude of unit damages. We show that when unit damages are sufficiently high, the quota policy is more efficient than the average efficiency standard. This suggests that instead of tightening CAFE to limit damages from emissions, policy makers can shift to a quota policy which is both welfare enhancing and more profitable for firms.

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Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2007-40.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2007-40
Contact details of provider: Postal: University of Connecticut 365 Fairfield Way, Unit 1063 Storrs, CT 06269-1063
Phone: (860) 486-4889
Fax: (860) 486-4463
Web page: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/

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  7. Champsaur, Paul & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1989. "Multiproduct Duopolists," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 533-57, May.
  8. Wang, X. Henry & Yang, Bill Z., 2001. "Mixed-strategy equilibria in a quality differentiation model," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(1-2), pages 213-226, January.
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  16. Wauthy, X., 1994. "Quality Choice in Models of Vertical Differentiation," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 1994033, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
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  27. Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou, 1995. "Product Differentiation and Oligopoly in International Markets: The Case of the U.S. Automobile Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 891-951, July.
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  34. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:3:y:2007:i:20:p:1-8 is not listed on IDEAS
  35. Segerson, Kathleen & Miceli, Thomas J., 1998. "Voluntary Environmental Agreements: Good or Bad News for Environmental Protection?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 109-130, September.
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