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What Do Emissions Markets Deliver and to Whom? Evidence from Southern California's NOx Trading Program

Meredith Fowlie, Stephen P. Holland () and Erin T. Mansur ()

American Economic Review, 2012, vol. 102, issue 2, pages 965-93

Abstract: An advantage of cap-and-trade programs over more prescriptive environmental regulation is that compliance flexibility and cost effectiveness can make more stringent emissions reductions politically feasible. However, when markets (versus regulators) determine where emissions occur, it becomes more difficult to assure that mandated emissions reductions are equitably achieved. We investigate these issues in the context of Southern California's RECLAIM program by matching facilities in RECLAIM with similar California facilities also in nonattainment areas. Our results indicate that average emissions fell 20 percent at RECLAIM facilities relative to our counterfactual. Furthermore, observed changes in emissions do not vary significantly with neighborhood demographic characteristics. (JEL H23, L51, Q53, Q58)

Date: 2012
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