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Faculty of Economics

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Hepburn, C. J., Quah, J.-H. and Ritz, R. A.

Emissions Trading with Profit-Neutral Permit Allocations


Abstract: This paper examines the impact of an emissions trading scheme (ETS) on equilibrium emissions, output, price, market concentration, and profits in a generalized Cournot model. We develop formulae for the number of emissions permits that have to be freely allocated to firms to neutralize the profit impact of the ETS. We show that its profit impact is usually limited: in a Cournot oligopoly with constant marginal costs, total industry profits are preserved so long as freely allocated permits cover a fraction of initial emissions that does not exceed the industry's Herfindahl index.

Keywords: Cap-and-trade, permit allocation, profit-neutrality, cost pass-through, abatement, grandfathering

JEL Codes: D43 H23 Q58

Author links: Robert Ritz  


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