Found 34 article(s) for author 'environmental policy'

Looking Back at Fifty Years of the Clean Air Act

Looking Back at Fifty Years of the Clean Air Act. Joseph Aldy, January 2020, Paper, “Since 1970, transportation, power generation, and manufacturing have dramatically transformed as air pollutant emissions have fallen significantly. To evaluate the causal impacts of the Clean Air Act on these changes, we synthesize and review retrospective analyses of air quality regulations. The geographic heterogeneity in regulatory stringency common to many regulations has important implications for emissions, public health, compliance costs, and employment. Cap-and-trade programs have delivered greater emission reductions at lower cost than conventional regulatory mandates, but policy practice has fallen short of the cost-effective ideal. Implementing regulations in imperfectly competitive markets have also influenced the Clean Air Act’s benefits and costs.Link

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Carbon Tax Review and Updating: Institutionalizing an Act-Learn-Act Approach to U.S. Climate Policy

Carbon Tax Review and Updating: Institutionalizing an Act-Learn-Act Approach to U.S. Climate Policy. Joseph Aldy, 2019, Paper, “The design of climate change policy faces the challenge of several key uncertainties. First, the potential benefits of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are characterized by an array of uncertainties related to long-term economic growth, climate sensitivity, the effectiveness of emissions mitigation policy, and the climate risk mitigation actions undertaken through adaptation and geoengineering (Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Carbon 2010; Greenstone, Kopits, and Wolverton 2013; Aldy 2015; Taylor 2015). Second, the potential costs of reducing emissions are characterized by uncertainties about the relative costs of low-carbon and carbon-intensive energy sources, technological innovation, consumer responsiveness to energy price changes, as well as the cost-effectiveness of policy design (Aldy et al. 2010). Third, the distributional consequences of climate change and climate policy responses are also characterized by uncertainty (Burtraw, Sweeney, and Walls 2009; Metcalf 2009; Rausch et al 2011; Carleton et al. 2018). Finally, the competitiveness impacts of emissions mitigation policy are uncertain and may vary with the relative stringency of policies around the world, transportation costs, and the energy intensity of manufacturing (Ederington, Levinson, and Minier 2005; Aldyand Pizer 2015; Aldy2017b).Link

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Carbon Taxes vs. Cap and Trade: Theory and Practice

Carbon Taxes vs. Cap and Trade: Theory and Practice. Robert Stavins, November 2019, Paper, “There is widespread agreement among economists – and a diverse set of other policy analysts – that, at least in the long run, an economy-wide carbon-pricing system will be an essential element of any national policy that can achieve meaningful reductions of CO2 emissions costeffectively in the United States and many other countries. There is less agreement, however, among economists and others in the policy community regarding the choice of specific carbon-pricing policy instrument, with some supporting carbon taxes and others favoring cap-and-trade mechanisms. How do the two major approaches to carbon pricing compare on relevant dimensions, including but not limited to efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and distributional equity? This paper addresses this question by drawing on theories of policy instrument choice pertaining to the attributes – or merits – of the instruments. The paper also draws on relevant empirical evidence. It concludes with a look at the path ahead.Link

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Vulnerability, Compensation, and Support for Climate Policies

Vulnerability, Compensation, and Support for Climate Policies. Dustin Tingley, November 17, 2019, Paper, “Combating climate change requires large economic adjustments that will have significant distributional implications for countries around the world. Scholars and policymakers have increasingly proposed compensation policies to ease the costs of the “carbon transition” for vulnerable communities and create momentum for climate policy cooperation.  However, to date, little work exists to explicate the determinants of individual support for compensatory climate policy and particular modes of compensation over others. We argue that the uneven distribution of vulnerabilities to climate change events and economic adjustment to decarbonization generates distinct positions on compensatory climate policy designs. Employing new data from several original surveys in the US, we show that communities that are only exposed to the economic costs of implementing climate policy (namely, coal country communities) have more cohesive opinions in favor of compensation for workers vulnerable to decarbonization efforts than fossil fuel communities that are also exposed to climatic events. Both groups stand in contrast to the general population, which cares less about losing workers and more about alternate types of large-scale compensation. Importantly, we find that the strong opinions about compensation in the coal communities are closely connected to fears that climate policy may threaten their collective identity. Although greater recognition of climate policy compensation may improve governments’ responses to the climate crisis, our findings also point to the likely polarization that compensatory options can generate in relevant political constituencies.Link

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Regulation and innovation: Examining outcomes in Chinese pollution control policy areas

Regulation and innovation: Examining outcomes in Chinese pollution control policy areas. Richard Freeman, October 3, 2019, Paper, “In this paper, we examine how two regionally implemented environmental initiatives in China have impacted the innovation ability of Chinese-listed firms. The regional implementation of these policies, with non-policy regions serving as controls, offers researchers the perfect conditions for a natural experiment. Using research and development (R&D) expenditures and patents as a proxy for innovativeness, we compare the record of innovation of firms inside the policy zones with firms outside the policy zones. We use a Difference-In-Difference-In-Differences (DIDID) method to eliminate endogeneity and take the quality of the patents into account by incorporating sub-items. Results show only one of the regulations had a positive effect and that low quality patents account for most of the innovation. We conclude that reasonably designed environmental regulations, when implemented regionally in competitive industries, do improve Chinese firms’ innovation ability in line with the Porter Hypothesis. The results help us derive some useful policy implications regarding innovation.Link

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Reviewing the Climate Crisis Town Hall

Reviewing the Climate Crisis Town Hall. Joseph Aldy, September 8, 2019, Audio, “Host Steve Curwood sits down with Joe Aldy, economist and Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, to take a look at carbon pricing, a just transition for fossil fuel workers, and other key topics from the climate crisis town hall.Link

 

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Collective Risk and Distributional Equity in Climate Change Bargaining

Collective Risk and Distributional Equity in Climate Change Bargaining. Dustin Tingley, 2019, Paper, “International climate negotiations occur against the backdrop of increasing collective risk: the likelihood of catastrophic economic loss due to climate change will continue to increase unless and until global mitigation efforts are sufficient to prevent it. We introduce a novel alternating-offers bargaining model that incorporates this characteristic feature of climate change. We test the model using an incentivized experiment. We manipulate two important distributional equity principles: capacity to pay for mitigation of climate change and vulnerability to its potentially catastrophic effects. Our results show that less vulnerable parties do not exploit the greater vulnerability of their bargaining partners. They are, rather, more generous. Conversely, parties with greater capacity are less generous in their offers. Both collective risk itself and its importance in light of the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report make it all the more urgent to better understand this crucial strategic feature of climate change bargaining.Link

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Climate Change, Climate Policy, and Economic Growth

Climate Change, Climate Policy, and Economic Growth. James Stock, July 1, 2019, Paper, “The topics of climate change and climate change policy encompass a complex mixture of the natural sciences, economics, and a mass of institutional, legal, and technical details. This complexity and multidisciplinary nature make it difficult for thoughtful citizens to reach their own conclusions on the topic and for potentially interested economists to know where to start. This essay aims to provide a point of entry for macroeconomists interested in climate change and climate change policy but with no special knowledge of the field. I therefore start at the beginning, with some basic background on climate change, presented through the eyes of an econometrician. I then turn to climate policy in the United States. That discussion points to a large number of researchable open questions which macroeconomists are particularly well-suited to tackle.Link

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For International Cap-and-Trade in Carbon Permits, Price Stabilization Introduces Secondary Free-Rider-Type Problems

For International Cap-and-Trade in Carbon Permits, Price Stabilization Introduces Secondary Free-Rider-Type Problems. Martin Weitzman, June 7, 2019, Paper, “In this brief note (Without holding them responsible for errors, omissions, or interpretations, I am grateful for constructive comments on an earlier version of this note by Joseph Aldy, Severin Borenstein, Maureen Cropper, Carolyn Fischer, Meredith Fowlie, Lawrence Goulder, Geoffrey Heal, N. Gregory Mankiw, Michael Mehling, Gilbert Metcalf, Adele Morris, Ian Parry, William Pizer, Simon Quemin, Andrew Schein, Richard Schmalensee, E. Somanathan, Robert Stavins, David Victor, and Gernot Wagner.), I take the initial allocation of carbon emissions as a prototype international public goods problem. Overcoming the free-rider problem in carbon emissions is central to a successful comprehensive international climate-change agreement. Volunteerism alone may go part way, but is unlikely to fully adequately overcome this free-rider problem. (The numerical values of the pledged “Nationally Determined Contributions” under the Paris Agreement are voluntary, although the Paris Agreement itself may help constructively by laying a legal foundation for participation, reporting, verification, transparency, and trust.)Link

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