More birds than stones – A framework for second-best energy and climate policy adjustments
Michael Hübler and
Journal of Public Economics, 2021, vol. 203, issue C
A well-known principle in public economics states that at least as many policy instruments as market failures are required to achieve an efficient outcome. In practice, however, regulatory power is often constrained, making implementing the first-best policy portfolio difficult or impossible. We analyze analytically and numerically how available policy instruments should be adjusted vis-à-vis the first-best to account for under-internalized secondary market failures. Consider, for example, the power sector: alongside the external costs of emissions, evidence suggests that consumers undervalue energy efficiency investments, and knowledge spillovers hamper research and development (R&D) and learning-by-doing in low-carbon technologies. By exploring the potential and limits of policy instrument substitution, we provide suggestions for adjusting policies in second-best situations. We calibrate the theoretical model to the European electricity sector and find that, compared with the first-best policy portfolio, relying on carbon dioxide (CO2) pricing alone increases the policy cost of the EU CO2 emissions target by about 30%. Uninternalized R&D spillovers contribute the most to this increase, and are the most difficult to address indirectly, even with subsidies supporting learning-by-doing. By contrast, almost 40% of the additional cost created by the absence of optimal energy efficiency subsidies can be recuperated by a second-best electricity tax.
Keywords: Second-best policy; Climate and energy policy; Multiple market failures (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C61 H21 H23 O33 Q41 Q48 Q54 Q55 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:203:y:2021:i:c:s0047272721001511
Access Statistics for this article
Journal of Public Economics is currently edited by R. Boadway and J. Poterba
More articles in Journal of Public Economics from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Catherine Liu ().