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On imperfect competition and market distortions: the causes of corporate under-investment in energy and material efficiency

Jun Rentschler (), Raimund Bleischwitz and Florian Flachenecker
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Jun Rentschler: University College London, Institute for Sustainable Resources
Florian Flachenecker: University College London, Institute for Sustainable Resources

International Economics and Economic Policy, 2018, vol. 15, issue 1, 159-183

Abstract: Abstract In practice firms are faced by a range of market frictions and barriers, which can prevent them from undertaking investments in efficiency and low-carbon technologies. Thus, even when environmental taxes are imposed, firms may be unable (or unwilling) to adjust their behaviour and technology in response to price signals. With a focus on energy and material efficiency investments, this paper systematically investigates how the theoretical assumptions of perfectly competitive and efficient markets are violated in practice, and how this results in complex and interlinked investment barriers. It classifies five categories of investment barriers: information, capacity, and financial constraints, as well as uncompetitive market structures and fiscal mismanagement; and presents evidence on each of these. It concludes by proposing a range of measures for mitigating investment barriers, and addressing their structural causes. Overall, the evidence presented in this paper aims to help increase the effectiveness of environmental taxes and regulation, by identifying market imperfections that environmental taxes alone cannot address.

Keywords: Investment barriers; Efficiency; Firms; Environmental taxes; H23; H32; L22 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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