Articles in Journals

Olmstead, Sheila M, and Robert N Stavins. “Comparing Price and Nonprice Approaches to Urban Water Conservation.” Water Resources Research 45 (2009): 10. Publisher's Version olmstead_stavins_water_resources_research.pdf


Jaffe, Judson, Matthew Ranson, and Robert N Stavins. “Linking Tradable Permit Systems: A Key Element of Emerging International Climate Policy Architecture.” Ecology Law Quarterly 36 (2009): 789–808. Publisher's Version jaffe-ranson-stavins-elq.pdf


Stavins, Robert N. “Addressing Climate Change with a Comprehensive Us Cap-and-Trade System.” Oxford Review of Economic Policy 24 (2008): 298 –321. Publisher's VersionAbstract

There is growing impetus for a domestic US climate policy that can provide meaningful reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases. I describe and analyse an up-stream, economy-wide CO2 cap-and-trade system which implements a gradual trajectory of emissions reductions (with inclusion over time of non-CO2 greenhouse gases), and includes mechanisms to reduce cost uncertainty. Initially, half of the allowances are allocated through auction and half through free distribution, with the share being auctioned gradually increasing to 100 per cent over 25 years. The system provides for linkage with emission-reduction credit projects in other countries, harmonization over time with effective cap-and-trade systems in other countries and regions, and appropriate linkage with actions taken in other countries, in order to establish a level playing field among domestically produced and imported products.



Aldy, Joseph E, and Robert N Stavins. “Climate Policy Architectures for the Post-Kyoto World.” Environment 50 (2008): 6–17. Publisher's Version aldy-stavins-environment-1.pdf


Reinhardt, Forest L, Robert N Stavins, and Richard HK Vietor. “Corporate Social Responsibility Through an Economic Lens.” Review of Environmental Economics and Policy 2 (2008): 219–239. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Business leaders, government officials, and academics are focusing considerable attention on the concept of “corporate social responsibility” (CSR), particularly in the realm of environmental protection. Beyond complete compliance with environmental regulations, do firms have additional moral or social responsibilities to commit resources to environmental protection? How should we think about the notion of firms sacrificing profits in the social interest? May they do so within the scope of their fiduciary responsibilities to their shareholders? Can they do so on a sustainable basis, or will the forces of a competitive marketplace render such efforts and their impacts transient at best? Do firms, in fact, frequently or at least sometimes behave this way, reducing their earnings by voluntarily engaging in environmental stewardship? And finally, should firms carry out such profit-sacrificing activities (i.e., is this an efficient use of social resources)? We address these questions through the lens of economics, including insights from legal analysis and business scholarship.



Stavins, Robert N. “A Meaningful U.s. Cap-and-Trade System to Address Climate Change.” Harvard Environmental Law Review 32 (2008): 293–371. Publisher's Version helr_cap_trade_stavins.pdf


Lubowski, Ruben N, Andrew J Plantinga, and Robert N Stavins. “What Drives Land-Use Change in the United States? A National Analysis of Landowner Decisions.” Land Economics 84 (2008): 529–550. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Land-use changes involve important economic and environmental effects with implications for international trade, global climate change, wildlife, and other policy issues. We use an econometric model to identify factors driving land-use change in the United States between 1982 and 1997. We quantify the effects of net returns to alternative land uses on private landowners' decisions to allocate land among six major uses, drawing on detailed micro-data on land use and land quality that are comprehensive of the contiguous United States. This analysis provides the first evidence of the relative historical importance of markets and federal farm policies affecting land-use changes nationally. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR] Copyright of Land Economics is the property of University of Wisconsin Press and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)



Stavins, Robert N. “Book Review: Jancis Robinson, Tasting Pleasures – Confessions of a Wine Lover.” Journal of Wine Economics 2 (2007): 106–108. Publisher's Version tasting_pleasure_by_jancis_robinson_review_by_stavins_proof.pdf


Bennear, Lori Snyder, and Robert N Stavins. “Second-Best Theory and the Use of Multiple Policy Instruments.” Environmental and Resource Economics 37 (2007): 111–129. bennear_stavins_for_ere_revisied.pdf


Jaffe, Judson, and Robert N Stavins. “On the Value of Formal Assessment of Uncertainty in Regulatory Analysis.” Regulation & Governance 1 (2007): 154–171.Abstract

The US Office of Management and Budget introduced in 2003 a new requirement for the treatment of uncertainty in Regulatory Impact Analyses (RIAs) of proposed regulations, requiring agencies to carry out a formal quantitative uncertainty assessment regarding a regulation’s benefits and costs if either is expected to reach \$1 billion annually. Despite previous use in other contexts, such formal assessments of uncertainty have rarely been employed in RIAs or other regulatory analyses. We describe how formal quantitative assessments of uncertainty – in particular, Monte Carlo analyses – can be conducted, we examine the challenges and limitations of such analyses in the context of RIAs, and we assess how the resulting information can affect the evaluation of regulations. For illustrative purposes, we compare Monte Carlo analysis with methods typically used in RIAs to evaluate uncertainty in the context of economic analyses carried out for the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Nonroad Diesel Rule, which became effective in 2004. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR] Copyright of Regulation & Governance is the property of Wiley-Blackwell and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)



Olmstead, Sheila M, W Michael Hanemann, and Robert N Stavins. “Water Demand Under Alternative Price Structures.” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 54 (2007): 181–198. Publisher's VersionAbstract

We estimate the price elasticity of water demand with household-level data, structurally modeling the piecewise-linear budget constraints imposed by increasing block pricing. We develop a mathematical expression for the unconditional price elasticity of demand under increasing block prices and compare conditional and unconditional elasticities analytically and empirically. We test the hypothesis that price elasticity may depend on price structure, beyond technical differences in elasticity concepts. Due to the possibility of endogenous utility price structure choice, observed differences in elasticity across price structures may be due either to a behavioral response to price structure, or to underlying heterogeneity among water utility service areas.



Anderson, Kym, V Ashenfelter, Victor Ginsburgh, and Robert N Stavins. “Editorial Welcome.” Journal of Wine Economics 1 (2006). Publisher's Version
Newell, Richard G, Adam B Jaffe, and Robert N Stavins. “The Effects of Economic and Policy Incentives on Carbon Mitigation Technologies.” Energy Economics 28 (2006): 563–578. Publisher's Version energy_economics_newell_jaffe_stavins.pdf


Stavins, Robert N. “Film Review: Alexander Payne, Sideways.” Journal of Wine Economics 1 (2006): 91–93. Publisher's Version sideways_review_jwe.pdf


Olmstead, Sheila M, and Robert N Stavins. “An International Policy Architecture for the Post-Kyoto Era.” American Economic Review 96 (2006): 35–38. olmstead_stavins_aer_2006.pdf


Lubowski, Ruben N, Andrew J Plantinga, and Robert N Stavins. “Land-Use Change and Carbon Sinks: Econometric Estimation of the Carbon Sequestration Supply Function.” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 51 (2006): 135–152. Publisher's VersionAbstract

If the United States chooses to implement a greenhouse gas reduction program, it would be necessary to decide whether to include carbon sequestration policies—such as those that promote forestation and discourage deforestation—as part of the domestic portfolio of compliance activities. We investigate the cost of forest-based carbon sequestration by analyzing econometrically micro-data on revealed landowner preferences, modeling six major private land uses in a comprehensive analysis of the contiguous United States. The econometric estimates are used to simulate landowner responses to sequestration policies. We treat key commodity prices as endogenous and predict carbon storage changes with a carbon sink model. Our estimated sequestration costs exceed those from previous engineering cost analyses and sectoral optimization models. Our estimated sequestration supply function is similar to the carbon abatement supply function from energy-based analyses, suggesting that forest-based carbon sequestration merits consideration in a cost-effective portfolio of domestic US climate change strategies.



Stavins, Robert N. “Vintage-Differentiated Environmental Regulation.” Stanford Environmental Law Journal 25 (2006): 29–63. Publisher's Version vintage_differentiated_regulation_by_stavins.pdf


Jaffe, Adam B, Richard G Newell, and Robert N Stavins. “A Tale of Two Market Failures: Technology and Environmental Policy.” Technological Change and the Environment Technological Change 54 (2005): 164–174. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Market failures associated with environmental pollution interact with market failures associated with the innovation and diffusion of new technologies. These combined market failures provide a strong rationale for a portfolio of public policies that foster emissions reduction as well as the development and adoption of environmentally beneficial technology. Both theory and empirical evidence suggest that the rate and direction of technological advance is influenced by market and regulatory incentives, and can be cost-effectively harnessed through the use of economic-incentive based policy. In the presence of weak or nonexistent environmental policies, investments in the development and diffusion of new environmentally beneficial technologies are very likely to be less than would be socially desirable. Positive knowledge and adoption spillovers and information problems can further weaken innovation incentives. While environmental technology policy is fraught with difficulties, a long-term view suggests a strategy of experimenting with policy approaches and systematically evaluating their success.



Bennear, Lori S, Robert N Stavins, and Alexander F Wagner. “Using Revealed Preferences to Infer Environmental Benefits:Evidence from Recreational Fishing Licenses.” Journal of Regulatory Economics 28 (2005): 157–179. Publisher's VersionAbstract

We develop and apply a new method for estimating the economic benefits of an environmental amenity. The method is based upon the notion of estimating the derived demand for a privately traded option to utilize an open access good. In particular, the demand for state fishing licenses is used to infer the benefits of recreational fishing. Using panel data on state fishing license sales and prices for the continental United States over a 15-year period, combined with data on substitute prices and demographic variables, a license demand function is estimated with instrumental variable procedures to allow for the potential endogeneity of administered prices. The econometric results lead to estimates of the benefits of a fishing license, and subsequently to the expected benefits of a recreational fishing day. In contrast with previous studies, which have utilized travel cost or hypothetical market methods, our approach provides estimates that are directly comparable across geographic areas. Our findings show substantial variation in the value of a recreational fishing day across geographic areas in the United States. This suggests that current practice of using benefits estimates from one part of the country in national or regional analyses may lead to substantial bias in benefits estimates.



Stavins, Robert N. “Forging A More Effective: Global Climate Treaty.” Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development 46 (2004): 22–30. Publisher's Version environment_magazine_article_on_3-part.pdf