Policy makers and analysts are often faced with situations where it is unclear whether market-based instruments hold real promise of reducing costs, relative to conventional uniform standards. We develop analytic expressions that can be employed with modest amounts of information to estimate the potential cost savings associated with market-based policies, with an application to the environmental policy realm. These simple formulae can identify instruments that merit more detailed investigation. We illustrate the use of these results with an application to nitrogen oxides control by electric utilities in the United States.
Economists have confined the concept of ‘sustainability’ to intertemporal distributional equity. We propose a broader definition, combining dynamic efficiency and intergenerational equity, and relate it to two concepts from neoclassical economics: potential Pareto-improvements and inter-personal compensation.
Jaffe, Adam B, Richard G Newell, and Robert N Stavins. “Technological Change and the Environment.” In Handbook of Environmental Economics, Vol. 1, edited by K-G Mäler and JR Vincent, 1:461–516. Amsterdam and Boston: Elsevier Science B.V. 2003.Abstract
Environmental policy discussions increasingly focus on issues related to technological change. This is partly because the environmental consequences of social activity are frequently affected by the rate and direction of technological change, and partly because environmental policy interventions can themselves create constraints and incentives that have significant effects on the path of technological progress. This chapter summarizes current thinking on technological change in the broader economics literature, surveys the growing economic literature on the interaction between technology and the environment, and explores the normative implications of these analyses. We begin with a brief overview of the economics of technological change, and then examine theory and empirical evidence on invention, innovation, and diffusion and the related literature on the effects of environmental policy on the creation of new, environmentally friendly technology. We conclude with suggestions for further research on technological change and the environment.
We critically review the Kyoto Protocol and thirteen alternative policy architectures for addressing the threat of global climate change. We employ six criteria to evaluate the policy proposals: environmental outcome, dynamic efficiency, cost-effectiveness, equity, flexibility in the presence of new information, and incentives for participation and compliance. The Kyoto Protocol does not fare well on a number of criteria, but none of the alternative proposals fare well along all six dimensions. We identify several major themes among the alternative proposals: Kyoto is “too little, too fast”; developing countries (DCs) should play a more substantial role and receive incentives to participate; implementation should focus on market-based approaches, especially those with price mechanisms; and participation and compliance incentives are inadequately addressed by most proposals. Our investigation reveals tensions among several of the evaluative criteria, such as between environmental outcome and efficiency, and between cost-effectiveness and incentives for participation and compliance.