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Transferable Licenses versus Nontransferable Licenses: What Is the Difference?

Kala Krishna () and Ling Hui Tan ()

International Economic Review, 1999, vol. 40, issue 3, 785-800

Abstract: This paper questions the presumption that transferable licenses are worth more and result in higher welfare. We show that the price of a transferable license may be lower than that of its nontransferable counterpart if the underlying quota is not very severe. However, transferability is preferable to nontransferability if consumer surplus and license revenue have equal weight in the welfare function. We also examine whether licenses will be monopolized by domestic producers with market power. The models have implications for several issues, including the design of pollution permits and how to maximize revenue from ticket sales. Copyright 1999 by Economics Department of the University of Pennsylvania and the Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association.

Date: 1999
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International Economic Review is currently edited by Harold L. Cole

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