A note on permits, standards, and technological innovation

Montero (J. Environ. Econom. Manage. 44 (2002) 23) contrasts the incentives to invest in new abatement technologies under different regulatory instruments and argues that one needs to consider the induced output effects that derive from lower abatement costs. Montero shows that, once one takes into account these effects on output, command-and-control instruments can generate stronger incentives to innovate than market-based instruments. This result rests on strategic output effects under command-and-control. However, he maintains that, under perfectly competitive conditions, market-based instruments will continue to weakly dominate command-and-control regulation. This note clarifies two issues raised by Montero. First, I use Montero's approach to show that in fact performance (concentration) standards will generate greater incentives to innovate than market-based instruments in perfectly competitive markets. One does not require strategic effects to get this result. Second, Montero abstracts from production costs and concentrates solely on abatement costs. He implicitly assumes that marginal production costs are constant. I show that some of Montero's results change once increasing marginal production costs are considered. When marginal costs are increasing, the benefit of additional output is tempered and market-based instruments again look more favorable.


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Command-and-control, Environmental regulation, Innovation

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AuthorsBruneau, Joel, F. (University of Saskatchewan, Canada)
Publisher:Elsevier Inc.
Keywords:Command-and-control, Environmental regulation, Innovation
Last update:2004