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2014-05-01 | Peer Reviewed

Regulatory dealing: Technology adoption versus enforcement stringency of emission taxes

Coria, Jessica and Clara Inés Villegas Palacio. 2014. “Regulatory dealing: Technology adoption versus enforcement stringency of emission taxes.” Contemporary economic policy 32:2: 451-473.
Download reference Doi:10.1111/coep.12013

We analyze the role of targeted enforcement of emissions taxes when the regulator wants to minimize aggregate emissions via the adoption of new more environmentally friendly technology.

The regulator wants to speed up the path of technology adoption generated by a policy of uniform enforcement (that monitors adopters and nonadopters with the same probability) by engaging in a regulatory deal where a reduced monitoring probability is granted in “exchange” for adoption of the new technology. We set up a theoretical model, characterize the circumstances in which such dealing minimizes aggregate emissions, and test our hypothesis using economic laboratory experiments. Our analytical and experimental results suggest that even though such a deal might imply an increased level of violation by adopters, such tolerance is rather an integral part of an overall enforcement strategy that minimizes aggregate emissions when the rate of adoption is endogenous.