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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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  1. Greene, David L, 1991. "Short-run Pricing Strategies to Increase Corporate Average Fuel Economy," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(1), pages 101-14, January.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. Besanko, David & Donnenfeld, Shabtai & White, Lawrence J, 1987. "Monopoly and Quality Distortion: Effects and Remedies," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(4), pages 743-67, November.
  6. Justin P. Johnson & David P. Myatt, 2003. "Multiproduct Quality Competition: Fighting Brands and Product Line Pruning," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 748-774, June.
  7. Maxwell, John W & Lyon, Thomas P & Hackett, Steven C, 2000. "Self-Regulation and Social Welfare: The Political Economy of Corporate Environmentalism," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(2), pages 583-617, October.
  8. Kwoka, John E, Jr, 1983. "The Limits of Market-Oriented Regulatory Techniques: The Case of Automotive Fuel Economy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(4), pages 695-704, November.
  9. Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou, 1998. "The Effects of the Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency Standards in the US," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(1), pages 1-33, March.
  10. Robert W. Crandall, 1992. "Policy Watch: Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 171-180, Spring.
  11. Ulrich Lehmann-Grube, 1997. "Strategic Choice of Quality When Quality is Costly: The Persistence of the High-Quality Advantage," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(2), pages 372-384, Summer.
  12. Parry, Ian & Fischer, Carolyn & Harrington, Winston, 2004. "Should Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards Be Tightened?," Discussion Papers dp-04-53, Resources For the Future.
  13. Alley, Wilson A, 1997. "Partial Ownership Arrangements and Collusion in the Automobile Industry," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(2), pages 191-205, June.
  14. Khanna, Madhu, 2001. " Non-mandatory Approaches to Environmental Protection," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(3), pages 291-324, July.
  15. Champsaur, Paul & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1989. "Multiproduct Duopolists," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 533-57, May.
  16. Maxwell, John W., 1998. "Minimum quality standards as a barrier to innovation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 355-360, March.
  17. Jean Agras & Duane Chapman, 1999. "The Kyoto Protocol, Cafe Standards, And Gasoline Taxes," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 17(3), pages 296-308, 07.
  18. J Videras & A Alberini, 2000. "The appeal of voluntary environmental programs: which firms participate and why?," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(4), pages 449-460, October.
  19. Esther Gal-Or, 1983. "Quality and Quantity Competition," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 590-600, Autumn.
  20. Anna Alberini & Kathleen Segerson, 2002. "Assessing Voluntary Programs to Improve Environmental Quality," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 22(1), pages 157-184, June.
  21. James Brander & Jonathan Eaton, 1982. "Product Line Rivalry," Working Papers 519, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  22. Kleit, Andrew N, 1990. "The Effect of Annual Changes in Automobile Fuel Economy Standards," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 151-72, June.
  23. Motta, Massimo, 1993. "Endogenous Quality Choice: Price vs. Quantity Competition," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 113-31, June.
  24. Shaked, Avner & Sutton, John, 1982. "Relaxing Price Competition through Product Differentiation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(1), pages 3-13, January.
  25. 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.
  26. Andrew N. Kleit, 2004. "Impacts of Long-Range Increases in the Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standard," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 42(2), pages 279-294, April.
  27. Valletti, Tommaso M, 2000. "Minimum Quality Standards under Cournot Competition," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 235-45, November.
  28. Peter Michaelis & Peter Zerle, 2006. "From ACEA's voluntary agreement to an emission trading scheme for new passenger cars," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(3), pages 435-453.
  29. Thorpe, Steven G, 1997. "Fuel Economy Standards, New Vehicle Sales, and Average Fuel Efficiency," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 311-26, May.
  30. Lyon, Thomas P. & Maxwell, John W., 2003. "Self-regulation, taxation and public voluntary environmental agreements," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1453-1486, August.
  31. Madhu Khanna & William Rose Q. Anton, 2002. "Corporate Environmental Management: Regulatory and Market-Based Incentives," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 78(4), pages 539-558.
  32. Plourde, Charles & Bardis, Vassilios, 1999. "Fuel economy standards in a model of automobile quality," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 309-319, August.
  33. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:3:y:2007:i:20:p:1-8 is not listed on IDEAS
  34. Crandall, Robert W & Graham, John D, 1989. "The Effect of Fuel Economy Standards on Automobile Safety," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 97-118, April.
  35. Chialin Chen, 2001. "Design for the Environment: A Quality-Based Model for Green Product Development," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(2), pages 250-263, February.
  36. De Fraja, Giovanni, 1996. "Product line competition in vertically differentiated markets," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 389-414, May.
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