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Leaving your tailings behind: Environmental bonds, bankruptcy and waste cleanup

Author

Listed:
  • Margaret Insley

    (Department of Economics and The Water Institute, University of Waterloo, Canada)

  • Sara Aghakazemjourabbaf

    (Department of Economics, University of Waterloo, Canada)

Abstract

The paper studies the impacts of an environmental bond, which fully covers waste cleanup costs, on a mining firm's optimal actions when bankruptcy may shift cleanup costs to the government. A firm's stochastic optimal control problem is described by an HJB equation with the resource price modelled as an Ito process. A theoretical result is derived, showing that when a firm does not have the option to declare bankruptcy, the bond has no impact on the optimal controls. In contrast, if a firm does have a bankruptcy option and if no environmental bond is required, the firm produces too much waste relative to a benchmark case, resulting in an effciency loss and a cleanup liability imposed on government. In the presence of a bankruptcy option, a bond ensures that the firm acts optimally and no effciency loss is imposed on society. A numerical solution of the HJB equation is implemented for a hypothetical copper mine and results are analyzed for two different models of bankruptcy risk.

Suggested Citation

  • Margaret Insley & Sara Aghakazemjourabbaf, 2020. "Leaving your tailings behind: Environmental bonds, bankruptcy and waste cleanup," Working Papers 2002, University of Waterloo, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2020.
  • Handle: RePEc:wat:wpaper:2002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Energy, Environmental, Health, and Safety Law
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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