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Emission versus Input Taxes for Diffuse Nitrate Pollution Control in the Presence of Transaction Costs

Athanasios Kampas () and Ben White

Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 2002, vol. 45, issue 1, 129-139

Abstract: The most important obstacle to solving diffuse pollution problems is that emissions are either unobservable or cannot be observed at a reasonable cost. Biophysical models may provide sufficient information to set a cost-effective emission tax. However, evidence from recent studies has shown that transaction costs for emission-based policies are higher per hectare than for input-based policies. An economic model of agriculture for the Kennet catchment in south-east England shows that, when transaction costs are accounted for, an input tax is more efficient than an emission tax over a range of emission standards. This result has policy implications in that it indicates, first, that economists' policy recommendations should account for transaction costs, and, secondly, that the standard advice that emission-based policies are superior may be wrong where transaction costs differ substantially between emission- and input-based policies.

Date: 2002
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DOI: 10.1080/09640560120100222

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