Richard Morgenstern

Resources for the Future
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Washington, DC 20036

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Institutional Affiliation: Resources for the Future

NBER Working Papers and Publications

January 2020Looking Back at Fifty Years of the Clean Air Act
with Joseph E. Aldy, Maximilian Auffhammer, Maureen L. Cropper, Arthur G. Fraas: w26687
Since 1970, transportation, power generation, and manufacturing have dramatically transformed as air pollutant emissions have fallen significantly. To evaluate the causal impacts of the Clean Air Act on these changes, we synthesize and review retrospective analyses of air quality regulations. The geographic heterogeneity in regulatory stringency common to many regulations has important implications for emissions, public health, compliance costs, and employment. Cap-and-trade programs have delivered greater emission reductions at lower cost than conventional regulatory mandates, but policy practice has fallen short of the cost-effective ideal. Implementing regulations in imperfectly competitive markets have also influenced the Clean Air Act’s benefits and costs.
How Does State-Level Carbon Pricing in the United States Affect Industrial Competitiveness?
with Brendan J. Casey, Wayne B. Gray, Joshua Linn: w26629
Pricing carbon emissions from a jurisdiction could harm the competitiveness of local firms, causing the leakage of emissions and economic activity to other regions. Past research concentrated on national carbon prices, but the impacts of subnational carbon prices could be more severe due to the openness of regional economies. Focusing on subnational carbon pricing in the United States, we specify a flexible model to capture competition between a plant in a state with carbon pricing and plants in other states or countries. We estimate model parameters using confidential plant-level data from 1982–2011 and simulate the effects of regional carbon prices covering the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic (regions that currently cap carbon emissions from the electric sector) on manufacturing output, emplo...
December 2019China's Unconventional Nationwide CO2 Emissions Trading System: The Wide-Ranging Impacts of an Implicit Output Subsidy
with Lawrence H. Goulder, Xianling Long, Jieyi Lu: w26537
China is planning to implement the largest CO2 emissions trading system in the world. To reduce emissions, the system will be a tradable performance standard (TPS), an emissions pricing mechanism that differs significantly from the emissions pricing instruments used in other countries, such as cap and trade (C&T) and a carbon tax. We employ matching analytically and numerically solved models to assess the cost-effectiveness and distributional impacts of China’s forthcoming TPS for achieving CO2 emissions reductions from the power sector. We find that the TPS’s implicit subsidy to electricity output has wide-ranging consequences for both cost-effectiveness and distribution. In terms of cost-effectiveness, the subsidy disadvantages the TPS relative to C&T by causing ...
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