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Optimal profits under environmental regulation: The benefits from emission intensity averaging


  • Hampf, Benjamin
  • Rødseth, Kenneth Løvold


In this paper we analyze the economic effects of implementing EPA's newly proposed regulations for carbon dioxide (CO2) on existing U.S. coal-fired power plants using nonparametric methods on a sample of 144 electricity generating units. Moreover, we develop an approach for evaluating the economic gains from averaging emission intensities among the utilities' generating units, compared to implementing unit-specific performance standards. Our results show that the implementation of flexible standards leads to up to 2.7 billion dollars larger profits compared to the uniform standards. Moreover, we find that by adopting best practices, current profits can be maintained even if an intensity standard of 0.88 tons of CO2 per MWh is implemented. However, our results also indicate a trade-off between environmental and profit gains, since aggregate CO2 emissions are higher with emission intensity averaging than with uniform standards.

Suggested Citation

  • Hampf, Benjamin & Rødseth, Kenneth Løvold, 2014. "Optimal profits under environmental regulation: The benefits from emission intensity averaging," Darmstadt Discussion Papers in Economics 220, Darmstadt University of Technology, Department of Law and Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:darddp:dar_68011

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kenneth Rødseth & Eirik Romstad, 2014. "Environmental Regulations, Producer Responses, and Secondary Benefits: Carbon Dioxide Reductions Under the Acid Rain Program," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 59(1), pages 111-135, September.
    2. Nasim Nasrabadi & Akram Dehnokhalaji & Narsis Kiani & Pekka Korhonen & Jyrki Wallenius, 2012. "Resource allocation for performance improvement," Annals of Operations Research, Springer, vol. 196(1), pages 459-468, July.
    3. Benjamin Hampf, 2014. "Separating environmental efficiency into production and abatement efficiency: a nonparametric model with application to US power plants," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 457-473, June.
    4. Lauwers, Ludwig, 2009. "Justifying the incorporation of the materials balance principle into frontier-based eco-efficiency models," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(6), pages 1605-1614, April.
    5. Zhou, P. & Ang, B.W. & Poh, K.L., 2008. "A survey of data envelopment analysis in energy and environmental studies," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 189(1), pages 1-18, August.
    6. M. Khodabakhshi & K. Aryavash, 2014. "The fair allocation of common fixed cost or revenue using DEA concept," Annals of Operations Research, Springer, vol. 214(1), pages 187-194, March.
    7. Johnson, Andrew L. & Ruggiero, John, 2011. "Allocative efficiency measurement with endogenous prices," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 111(1), pages 81-83, April.
    8. Mekaroonreung, Maethee & Johnson, Andrew L., 2012. "Estimating the shadow prices of SO2 and NOx for U.S. coal power plants: A convex nonparametric least squares approach," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 723-732.
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    More about this item


    environmental regulation; profit maximization; emission intensity averaging; nonparametric effciency analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • L50 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - General
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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