ENVIRONMENTAL COMMODITIES MARKETS: 'MESSY' VERSUS 'IDEAL' WORLDS
RICHARD J. MCCANN
Adopting tradable permit market (TPM) programs to address air quality and water supply problems has become increasingly popular. However, economists evaluating these proposals have erred in comparing "ideal" permit markets with "messy" existing regulatory structures. In fact, permit markets also are likely to be "messy" due to the existing institutions and market imperfections. The physical and technological nature of these environmental commodities have and will continue to impose barriers to creating such markets. In addition, the analyses often do not adequately define the legal, management, and exchange institutions so as to capture how transaction costs and uncertainty will affect these markets. This paper identifies some specific factors that influence permit markets in environmental commodities and discusses the potential magnitudes of these effects. Copyright 1996 Western Economic Association International.
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