Getting to Browser Tab Zero so I can reboot the computer is awfully hard when the one open tab is a Table of Contents for the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, and every issue has more stuff I want to read.
A few highlights:
- Gugler et al demonstrating the effectiveness of British carbon pricing over German regulatory interventions in the electricity market. Carbon prices were far more effective in getting to a cleaner power grid.
- Steven Smith on prior appropriation versus proportional division in allocating water rights, leveraging a neat natural experiment (the formation of Colorado forcing a change in water rights). They suggest proportional rights (think: NZ’s way of divvying up fishing rights within a total allowable catch) can get you to higher yields and higher-valued crops; water markets can work around inefficient allocations in either property rights system; but, that transactions costs hinder water trading.
- Banerjee et al showing that exporting firms in Indonesia do more to abate pollution than non-exporting firms.
- A cost-benefit assessment of cost-benefit assessment! Newbold et al find that the value of information provided by water quality valuation will almost certainly exceed the cost of the study.
- Manning et al suggest that water rights retirement may not always be worth the cost.
- More evidence for the merits of tax over command-and-control regulation: Lade et al have a look at flaring regulations in the Bakken fracking fields in North Dakota. The regulations reduced flaring. But Lade concludes “taxing flared gas at the existing public lands royalty rate would achieve 99% of the flaring reductions at 46% lower cost.”
- Did moving away from Canada make me smarter? Cook et al find that people do worse in testing when it’s cold outside, despite the indoor testing environment being entirely climate controlled.
- Edenhofer et al on stranded assets and climate policy. Bottom line: you want policy to provide a lot of certainty about the future path. They warn stranded assets are most likely to lead to welfare losses if: “(i) policy is a stochastic process, (ii) government policies are subject to rent-seeking, (iii) governments cannot commit to future policy paths or (iv) asset losses hit poorer individuals.” One upshot for NZ: sticking with the ETS with a binding published declining path solves (i-iii), and providing a carbon dividend mitigate (iv).