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Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 12 No. 3 (Summer 1998)

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What Can We Learn from the Grand Policy Experiment? Lessons from SO2 Allowance Trading

Article Citation

Stavins, Robert N. 1998. "What Can We Learn from the Grand Policy Experiment? Lessons from SO2 Allowance Trading." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 12(3): 69-88.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.12.3.69

Abstract

The most ambitious application ever attempted of a market-based approach to environmental protection has been for the control of acid rain under the Clean Air Act amendments of 1990, which established a sulfur dioxide allowance trading program. This essay identifies lessons that can be learned from this grand experiment in economically oriented environmental policy. The author examines positive political economy lessons, asking why this system was adopted from acid-rain control in 1990, and he considers normative lessons that can be learned from the program's structure and performance, focusing on lessons for the design and implementation of future systems.

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Authors

Stavins, Robert N. (Harvard U and Resources for the Future)

JEL Classifications

Q28: Renewable Resources and Conservation: Government Policy
H23: Taxation and Subsidies: Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
Q25: Renewable Resources and Conservation: Water

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