Environmental Policy with Green Consumerism
47 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2020
Date Written: 2020
Is green consumerism beneficial to the environment and the economy? To shed light on this question, we study the political economy of environmental regulations in a model with neutral and green consumers where the latter derive some warm glow from buying a good of higher environmental quality produced by a profit-maximizing monopoly, while the good bought by neutral consumers is provided by a competitive fringe. Consumers unanimously vote for a standard set at a lower than first-best level, or for a tax delivering the first-best environmental protection level. Despite its under-provision of environmental protection, the standard dominates the tax from a welfare perspective due to its higher productive efficiency, i.e., a smaller gap between the environmental qualities of the two goods supplied. In stark contrast, voters unanimously prefer a tax to a standard when the willingness to pay for greener goods is small enough.
Keywords: environmental regulation, corporate social responsibility, green consumerism, product differentiation, tax, standard, green label, political economy
JEL Classification: D240, D620, Q410, Q420, Q480
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