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Regulation at the source? Comparing upstream and downstream climate policies

Joël Foramitti, Ivan Savin and Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh

Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 2021, vol. 172, issue C

Abstract: Climate policies can be applied either upstream, where fossil fuels are extracted, or downstream, where emissions are generated. Specific policy instruments can be defined for either level, and can take the form of a price signal such as through a tax, or a quantity limit such as through direct regulation or a permit market. In this study, we present an agent-based model to compare the performance of these different instruments and regulation levels. Since policy coverage is often limited, i.e. not all firms being under the regulator’s control, we also examine the impact of incomplete coverage on relative policy performance. Our analysis shows that only upstream regulation leads to an increase in fossil fuel prices, which is benefitial under limited coverage as it also affects firms not directly affected by the policy instruments; that prices under quantity-based regulation can decline after an initial peak, stabilizing at a lower level than under the tax; and that direct regulation is more efficient when applied upstream.

Keywords: Agent-based modeling; Carbon leakage; Carbon tax; Climate policy; Emission trading; Quota (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:tefoso:v:172:y:2021:i:c:s0040162521004923

DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2021.121060

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