Publications by Author: Schmalensee, Richard

Schmalensee, Richard, and Robert N. Stavins. “The Design of Environmental Markets: What Have We Learned From Experience With Cap and Trade?Oxford Review of Economic Policy 33, no. 4 (2017): 572–588.Abstract
Abstract: This article reviews the design of environmental markets for pollution control over the past 30 years, and identifies key market-design lessons for future applications. The focus is on a subset of the cap-and-trade systems that have been implemented, planned, or proposed around the world. Three criteria led us to the selection of systems for review. First, among the broader class of tradable permit systems, our focus is exclusively on cap-and-trade mechanisms, thereby excluding emission-reductioncredit or offset programmes. Second, among cap-and-trade mechanisms, we examine only those that target pollution abatement, and so we do not include applications to natural resource management, such as individual transferable quota systems used to regulate fisheries. Third, we focus on the most prominent applications—those that are particularly important environmentally, economically, or both. Keywords: environmental markets, cap-and-trade system, air pollution, global climate change JEL classification: Q58, Q28, Q53, Q54
The Design of Environmental Markets: What Have We Learned From Experience With Cap and Trade?
Schmalensee, Richard, and Robert N. Stavins. “Lessons Learned from Three Decades of Experience with Cap-and-Trade.” Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Harvard Environmental Economics Program, 2015.Abstract

This essay provides an overview of the major emissions trading programs of the past thirty years on which significant documentation exists, and draws a number of important lessons for future applications of this environmental policy instrument. References to a larger number of other emissions trading programs that have been implemented or proposed are included.

Schmalensee, Richard, and Robert N Stavins. “The SO2 Allowance Trading System: The Ironic History of a Grand Policy Experiment.” Cambridge, Massachusetts, {USA}: Harvard Environmental Economics Program, 2012.Abstract

Two decades have passed since the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 launched a grand experiment in market-based environmental policy: the {SO}2 cap-and-trade system. That system performed well but created four striking ironies. First, by creating this system to reduce {SO}2 emissions to curb acid rain, the government did the right thing for the wrong reason. Second, a substantial source of this system‘s cost-effectiveness was an unanticipated consequence of earlier railroad deregulation. Third, it is ironic that cap-and-trade has come to be demonized by conservative politicians in recent years, since this market-based, cost-effective policy innovation was initially championed and implemented by Republican administrations. Fourth, court decisions and subsequent regulatory responses have led to the collapse of the {SO}2 market, demonstrating that what the government gives, the government can take away.