Experience with Market-Based Environmental Policy Instruments

99 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 1999

See all articles by Robert N. Stavins

Robert N. Stavins

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS); Resources for the Future; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: July 2002

Abstract

Environmental policies typically combine the identification of a goal with some means to achieve that goal. This chapter for the forthcoming Handbook of Environmental Economics focuses exclusively on the second component, the means - the "instruments" - of environmental policy, and considers, in particular, experience around the world with the relatively new breed of economic-incentive or market-based policy instruments. I define these instruments broadly, and consider them within four categories: charge systems; tradable permits; market friction reductions; and government subsidy reductions. Within charge systems, I consider: effluent charges, deposit-refund systems, user charges, insurance premium taxes, sales taxes, administrative charges, and tax differentiation. Within tradable permit systems, I consider both credit programs and cap-and-trade systems. Under the heading of reducing market frictions, I examine: market creation, liability rules, and information programs. Finally, under reducing government subsidies, I review a number of specific examples from around the world. By defining market-based instruments broadly, I cast a large net for this review of applications. As a consequence, the review is extensive. But this should not leave the impression that market-based instruments have replaced, or have come anywhere close to replacing, the conventional, command-and-control approach to environmental protection. Further, even where these approaches have been used in their purest form and with some success, such as in the case of tradable-permit systems in the United States, they have not always performed as anticipated. In the final part of the paper, I ask what lessons can be learned from our experiences. In particular, I consider normative lessons for: design and implementation; analysis of prospective and adopted systems; and identification of new applications.

Keywords: Environmental Policy, Market-based Instruments, Economic-incentive Instruments

Suggested Citation

Stavins, Robert N., Experience with Market-Based Environmental Policy Instruments (July 2002). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=199848 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.199848

Robert N. Stavins (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-1820 (Phone)
617-496-3783 (Fax)

Resources for the Future

1616 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Downloads
4,283
Abstract Views
29,239
Rank
4,284
PlumX Metrics