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Transaction Costs of Upstream Versus Downstream Pricing of $$\hbox {CO}_{2}$$ CO 2 Emissions

Jessica Coria and Jūratė Jaraite-Kažukauskė

Environmental & Resource Economics, 2019, vol. 72, issue 4, 965-1001

Abstract: Abstract To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper comparing empirically the transaction costs of the monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) required by two environmental regulations aimed to cost-efficiently reduce greenhouse gas emissions: a carbon dioxide ( $$\hbox {CO}_{2}$$ CO 2 ) tax and an emissions trading system. We do this in the case of Sweden, where a set of firms are covered by both types of regulations—the Swedish $$\hbox {CO}_{2}$$ CO 2 tax and the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). Our results indicate that there is a significant degree of heterogeneity in the transaction costs of the firms in our sample. Moreover, for some of the firms, the transaction costs are high when compared with the actual cost of the $$\hbox {CO}_{2}$$ CO 2 tax and the price of the EU ETS. Furthermore, we find that the MRV costs are lower for $$\hbox {CO}_{2}$$ CO 2 taxation than for the EU ETS, which confirms the general view that regulating emissions upstream via a $$\hbox {CO}_{2}$$ CO 2 tax yields lower transaction costs vis-á-vis downstream regulation via emissions trading.

Keywords: Climate change; $$\hbox {CO}_{2}$$ CO 2 tax; Emissions trading; Firm-level data; EU ETS; Transaction costs; Sweden (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D23 H23 Q52 Q58 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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