The US unconventional energy boom has reversed the decline of domestic production, lowered oil and gas imports, reduced gas prices, and created political space for tougher regulations on coal-fired power plants. This column argues that it is not a panacea, however. Even if current estimates prove accurate, the long-run benefits to the US economy will be relatively small. Improving energy efficiency and promoting low-carbon technologies will be just as important as before – especially for the EU, given its more limited known reserves of unconventional oil and gas.
Economic theory predicts that international environmental agreements will fail due to free-rider problems, and previous empirical work suggests that such agreements do not in fact reduce emissions. This column presents evidence that the Basel Convention and Ban on trade in hazardous waste has also been ineffective. The authors find no evidence that Annex-7 countries that ratified the Ban slowed their exports to non-Annex-7 countries as the agreement requires.
Market-based mechanisms such as cap-and-trade can tackle externality problems more efficiently than command-and-control regulations. However, politicians in the US and Europe have retreated from cap-and-trade in recent years. This column draws a parallel between Republicans’ abandonment of market-based environmental regulation and their recent disavowal of mandatory health insurance. The author argues that in practice, the alternative to market-based regulation is not an absence of regulation, but rather the return of inefficient mandates and subsidies.
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- 13th Summer School in International Development Economics: Investment, Saving and Wellbeing in Developing Countries10 - 13 June 2014 / Palazzo Feltrinelli, Gargnano, Lake Garda (Italy) / Organisers: Centro Studi Luca d’Agliano, Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), Paolo Baffi Center on International Markets, Money and Regulation, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods of the University of Milan, Department of Economics, Quantitative Methods and Business Strategies of the University of Milan Bicocca, Vilfredo Pareto Doctoral Program in Economics of the University of Turin, The Lombardy Advanced School of Economic Research (LASER).
- 3rd WB-BE Research Conference: Financing growth: Levers, Boosters and Brakes23 - 24 June 2014 / Banco de España headquarters in Madrid / This conference is sponsored by Banco de España and The World Bank