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Chapter 18

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  1. Chapter 18 Externalities and Public Goods

  2. Topics to be Discussed • Externalities • Ways of Correcting Market Failure • Externalities and Property Rights • Common Property Resources • Public Goods • Private Preferences for Public Goods Chapter 18

  3. Externalities • Externalities arise between producers, between consumers, or between producers and consumers • Externalities are the effects of production and consumption activities not directly reflected in the market • They can be negative or positive Chapter 18

  4. Externalities • Negative • Action by one party imposes a cost on another party • Plant dumps waste in a river, affecting those downstream • The firm has no incentive to account for the external costs that it imposes on those downstream Chapter 18

  5. Externalities • Positive • Action by one party benefits another party • Homeowner plants a beautiful garden where all the neighbors benefit from it • Homeowner did not take their benefits into account when deciding to plant Chapter 18

  6. Negative Externalities and Inefficiency • Scenario – plant dumping waste • Marginal External Cost (MEC) is the increase in cost imposed on fishermen downstream for each level of production • Marginal Social Cost (MSC) is MC plus MEC • We can show the competitive market firm decision and the market demand and supply curves Chapter 18

  7. Negative Externalities and Inefficiency • Assume the firm has a fixed proportions production function and cannot alter its input combinations • The only way to reduce waste is to reduce output • Price of steel and quantity of steel initially produced given by the intersection of supply and demand Chapter 18

  8. Negative Externalities and Inefficiency • The MC curve for the firm is the marginal cost of production • Firm maximizes profit by producing where MC equals price in a competitive firm • As firm output increases, external costs on fishermen also increase, measured by the marginal external cost curve • From a social point of view, the firm produces too much output Chapter 18

  9. MSC MC MSCI S = MCI P* P1 P1 MECI MEC D q* q1 Q* Q1 External Costs There is MEC of production from the waste released. The MSC is true cost of production. Firm will produce q1 at P1. The profit maximizing firm produces at q1 while the efficient output level is q*. Price Price Industry output Firm output Chapter 18

  10. Aggregate social cost of negative externality MSC Price Price MSCI MC S = MCI P* P1 P1 MECI MEC D q* q1 Q* Q1 Industry output Firm output External Costs By not producing at the efficient level, there is a social cost on society. Chapter 18

  11. External Cost • Negative externalities encourage inefficient firms to remain in the industry and create excessive production in the long run Chapter 18

  12. Positive Externalities and Inefficiency • Externalities can also result in too little production, as can be shown in an example of home repair and landscaping • Repairs generate external benefits to the neighbors • Shown by the Marginal External Benefit curve (MEB) • Marginal Social Benefit (MSB) curve adds MEB +D Chapter 18

  13. MSB D P1 MC P* MEB q1 q* External Benefits Value When there are positive externalities (the benefits of repairs to neighbors), marginal social benefits (MSB) are higher than marginal benefits (D). A self-interested home owner invests q1 in repairs. The efficient level of repairs q* is higher. The higher price P1 discourages repair. Repair Level Chapter 18

  14. Ways of Correcting Market Failure • Assumption: The market failure is pollution • Output decision and emissions decision are independent • Firm has chosen its profit-maximizing output level • MSC is marginal social cost of emissions • Equivalent to MEC from before • Upward sloping because of substantially increasing harm as pollution increases Chapter 18

  15. Ways of Correcting Market Failure • MCA is marginal cost of abating emissions • Additional cost to firm of controlling pollution • Downward sloping because when emissions are high, there is little cost to controlling them • Large reductions require costly changes in production process Chapter 18

  16. Ways of Correcting Market Failure • If the firm does not consider abatement, their profit maximizing level is 26 units of emissions • Level where MCA is zero • The socially efficient level of emissions is 12 where the MSC equals the MCA Chapter 18

  17. MSC MCA E0 E1 E* 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 Level of Emissions The Efficient Level of Emissions Dollars/ Unit of Emissions 6 At Eo the marginal cost of abating emissions is greater than the marginal social cost. 4 At E1 the marginal social cost is greater than the marginal benefit. The efficient level of emissions is where MCA = MSC. 2 Chapter 18

  18. Ways of Correcting Market Failure • Firms can be encouraged to reduce emissions to the efficient level in three ways: • Emissions standards • Emissions fees • Transferable emissions permits Chapter 18

  19. Ways of Correcting Market Failure • Options for Reducing Emissions to E* • Emissions Standard • Set a legal limit on emissions at E* (12) • Enforced by monetary and criminal penalties • Increases the cost of production and the threshold price to enter the industry • Emissions Fee • Charge levied on each unit of emission Chapter 18

  20. MSC Standard Fee 3 MCA E* 12 Standards and Fees Dollars/ Unit of Emissions Level of Emissions Chapter 18

  21. MSC Total Fee of Abatement Fee E* MCA Total Abatement Cost Standards and Fees Dollars/ Unit of Emissions Cost is less than the fee if emissions were not reduced. 3 12 Level of Emissions Chapter 18

  22. Ways of Correcting Market Failure • Standards Versus Fees • Assumptions • Policymakers have asymmetric information • Administrative costs require the same fee or standard for all firms Chapter 18

  23. The Case for Fees • Assume two firms • Same marginal social cost curve • Different marginal abatement cost curves • MCA1 and MCA2 • Emissions fees are preferable to standards in this case • We want to reduce total emissions by 14 units • The cheapest way to do that is for Firm 1 to reduce by 6 and Firm 2 by 8 units Chapter 18

  24. Fee per Unit of Emissions MCA1 MCA2 6 5 4 3 2 1 Level of Emissions 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 The Case for Fees The cost minimizing solution would be an abatement of 6 for Firm 1 and 8 for Firm 2 and MCA1= MCA2 = $3. Chapter 18

  25. The Case for Fines • What if the regulatory agency forces each firm to cut emissions by 7 units? • MAC for Firm 1 increases to $3.75 • MAC for Firm 2 decreases to $2.50 • This is not cost minimizing because one firm can reduce emissions at a lower cost than the other firm • Marginal cost of abatement must be equal between firms for reductions to occur at minimum cost Chapter 18

  26. Fee per Unit of Emissions MCA1 MCA2 6 5 4 3.75 Firm 1’s Increased Abatement Costs 3 2.50 Firm 2’s Reduced Abatement Costs 2 1 Level of Emissions 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 The Case for Fees The impact of a standard of abatement of 7 for both firms is illustrated. Not efficient because MCA2 < MCA1. Chapter 18

  27. Ways of Correcting Market Failure • Advantages of Fees • When equal standards must be used, fees achieve the same emission abatement at a lower cost • Fees create an incentive to install equipment that would reduce emissions further Chapter 18

  28. The Case for Standards • Assume we have • Steep marginal social cost curve • Flat marginal cost of abatement • An emissions fee of $8 would be efficient but because of limited information, fee is set at $7 • Firms’ emissions increase and with steep MSC, this will lead to significant additional social costs Chapter 18

  29. The Case for Standards • What if standard is used instead and has the same percentage mistake? • Standard set at 9 instead of 8 • Increase in social costs and decrease in abatement costs • Net increase in social costs is smaller than with fees Chapter 18

  30. C Fee per Unit of Emissions 16 Marginal Social Cost 14 12 E A 10 D B 8 6 4 Marginal Cost of Abatement 2 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 Level of Emissions The Case for Standards Based on incomplete information, fee is $7 (12.5% decrease). Emission increases to 11. ABC is the increase in social cost less the decrease in abatement cost. Based on incomplete information, standard is 9 (12.5% decrease). ADE < ABC Chapter 18

  31. Ways of Correcting Market Failure • Summary: Fees vs. Standards • Standards are preferred when MSC is steep and MCA is flat • Standards (incomplete information) yield more certainty on emissions levels and less certainty on the cost of abatement Chapter 18

  32. Ways of Correcting Market Failure • Summary: Fees vs. Standards • Fees have certainty on cost and uncertainty on emissions • Preferred policy depends on the nature of uncertainty and the slopes of the cost curves Chapter 18

  33. Ways of Correcting Market Failure • Transferable Emissions Permits • Permits help develop a competitive market for externalities • Agency determines the level of emissions and number of permits • Permits are marketable • High cost firm will purchase permits from low cost firms Chapter 18

  34. Ways of Correcting Market Failure • The market for externalities is appealing since it combines the system of standards with the system of fees • The agency who administers the system determines the total number of permits and therefore the total amount of emissions • Marketability of the permits allows pollution abatement to be achieved at minimum cost Chapter 18

  35. The Costs and Benefits of Reduced Sulfur Dioxide Emissions • Costs of Reducing Emissions • Conversion to natural gas from coal and oil • Emission control equipment • Benefits of Reducing Emissions • Health • Reduction in corrosion • Aesthetic Chapter 18

  36. The Costs and Benefits of Reduced Sulfur Dioxide Emissions • The efficient sulfur dioxide concentration equates the marginal abatement cost to the marginal social cost • Can show the marginal abatement cost curve in a series of steps, each representing a different abatement technology Chapter 18

  37. Marginal Social Cost Marginal Abatement Cost Sulfur Dioxide Emissions Reductions 60 Dollars per unit of reduction • Observations • MAC = MSC @ .0275 • .0275 is slightly below actual emission level • Economic efficiency improved 40 20 Sulfur dioxide concentration (ppm) 0 0.02 0.04 0.06 0.08 Chapter 18

  38. Emissions Trading and Clean Air • Bubbles • Firm can adjust pollution controls for individual sources of pollutants as long as a total pollutant limit is not exceeded • Offsets • New emissions must be offset by reducing existing emissions • 2000 offsets since 1979 Chapter 18

  39. Emissions Trading and Clean Air • Cost of achieving an 85% reduction in hydrocarbon emissions for DuPont • Three Options • 85% reduction at each source plant (total cost = $105.7 million) • 85% reduction at each plant with internal trading (total cost = $42.6 million) • 85% reduction at all plants with internal and external trading (total cost = $14.6 million) Chapter 18

  40. Emissions Trading and Clean Air • 1990 Clean Air Act • Since 1990, the cost of the permits has fallen from an expected $300 to below $100 • Causes of the drop in permit prices • More efficient abatement techniques • Price of low sulfur coal has fallen Chapter 18

  41. Price of Tradable Emissions Permits Chapter 18

  42. Ways of Correcting Market Failure • Recycling • Households can dispose of glass and other garbage at very low cost • The low cost of disposal creates a divergence between the private and the social cost of disposal Chapter 18

  43. Recycling • Marginal private cost likely constant for fixed amount of garbage • Social cost of disposal includes the harm to environment from littering and injuries caused by litter • Without market intervention, the level of scrap will be at m and m1 > m* • With refundable deposit, MC increases and MC = MSC = MCR Chapter 18

  44. The Efficient Amount of Recycling Chapter 18

  45. Refundable Deposits • Deposit is paid when bottle is purchased and then refunded when bottle returned • Can choose the deposit to give household incentive to recycle more • Deposit increases private cost of disposal • Supply of glass comes from new glass and recycled glass • Increasing deposit increases supply of recycled glass and lowers price of glass Chapter 18

  46. D Refundable Deposits Sr The supply of glass is the sum of the supply of virgin glass (SV) and the supply of recycled glass (Sr). Without refunds the price of glass is P and Sr is M1. $ S’r Sv With refunds Sr increases to S’r and S increases to S’. Price falls to P’ and the amount of recycled glass increases to M*. S S’ P P’ Chapter 18 Amount of Glass M1 M*

  47. Externalities and Property Rights • Property Rights • Legal rules describing what people or firms may do with their property • For example: • If residents downstream owned the river (clean water) they would control upstream emissions Chapter 18

  48. Externalities and Property Rights • Bargaining and Economic Efficiency • Economic efficiency can be achieved without government intervention when the externality affects relatively few parties and when property rights are well specified Chapter 18

  49. Profits Under AlternativeEmissions Choices (Daily) Chapter 18

  50. Externalities and Property Rights • Assumptions • Factory pays for the filter • Fishermen pay for the treatment plant • Efficient Solution • Buy the filter and do not build the plant Chapter 18