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Banking and price containment in the California greenhouse gas emissions market: an experimental analysis of market design

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Abstract

We use a set of economic experiments to test the effects of two key features of California's new program for limiting greenhouse gas emissions. The cap & trade scheme included in the program includes two novel features, limits on allowance ownership (or 'holding limits') and a tiered price containment reserve sale. These program features are linked by their potential to affect liquidity in the market for emission allowances. We examine the effects of these features on liquidity and on measures of market performance including efficiency, price discovery, and price variability. We find that tight holding limits have the effect of substantially lowering the number of banked allowances available for trade, hence lowering liquidity. This impairs the ability of traders to smooth prices over time resulting in lower efficiency, less effective price discovery, and higher variability in price. The price containment reserve, while increasing the supply of allowances available to traders, does not appear to mitigate the effects of tight holding limits on market outcomes. As a result, the imposition of holding limits in the allowance market may have the consequence of increasing the likelihood of the market manipulation that they were intended to prevent.

Suggested Citation

  • Charles A. Holt & William M. Shobe, 2013. "Banking and price containment in the California greenhouse gas emissions market: an experimental analysis of market design," Working Papers 2013-01, Center for Economic and Policy Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:vac:wpaper:wp13-01
    Note: A much revised draft of this working draft will appear in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization (2014) under the title: Elements of emission market design: an experimental analysis of California's market for greenhouse gas allowances
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    File URL: http://econ.ccps.virginia.edu/RePEc_docs/ceps_docs/ab32_banking_7-13.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Singfat Chu, 2014. "Mitigating supply and price volatilities in Singapore’s vehicle quota system," Transportation, Springer, vol. 41(5), pages 1119-1134, September.
    2. 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.
    3. Philip J. Grossman & Catherine Eckel & Mana Komai & Wei Zhan, 2016. "It Pays to Be a Man: Rewards for Leaders in a Coordination Game," Monash Economics Working Papers 38-16, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    4. 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.
    5. Khezr, Peyman & MacKenzie, Ian A., 2018. "Permit market auctions with allowance reserves," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 283-306.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    cap and trade; uniform price auction; market liquidity; price containment reserve; emission markets; carbon markets;

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • D47 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Market Design
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue

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