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Time inconsistent environmental policy and optimal delegation

By Richard Mash, Dieter Helm and Cameron Hepburn

Abstract

Time consistency problems can arise when environmental taxes are employed to encourage firms to take irreversible abatement decisions. Setting a high carbon tax, for instance, would induce firms to invest in low-carbon technology, yet once investment has occurred the government can then reduce the carbon tax to better achieve other objectives; lower energy prices, redistribution, and electoral success. The resulting time inconsistency discourages firms from investing in the first place. We propose an institutional solution to this problem, adapted from the monetary policy literature; the commitment outcome can be achieved through delegation to an `environmental policymaker`, akin to a conservative central banker

Topics: GE Environmental Sciences, HB Economic Theory
Publisher: Department of Economics, Oxford University
Year: 2003
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.lse.ac.uk:33016
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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