<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Show how pollution charges impact firm decisions
  • Suggest other laws and regulations that could fall under pollution charges
  • Explain the significance of marketable permits and property rights
  • Evaluate which policies are most appropriate for various situations

Market-oriented environmental policies create incentives to allow firms some flexibility in reducing pollution. The three main categories of market-oriented approaches to pollution control are pollution charges, marketable permits, and better-defined property rights. All of these policy tools, discussed below, address the shortcomings of command-and-control regulation—albeit in different ways.

Pollution charges

A pollution charge    is a tax imposed on the quantity of pollution that a firm emits. A pollution charge gives a profit-maximizing firm an incentive to figure out ways to reduce its emissions—as long as the marginal cost of reducing the emissions is less than the tax.

For example, consider a small firm that emits 50 pounds per year of small particles, such as soot, into the air. Particulate matter, as it is called, causes respiratory illnesses and also imposes costs on firms and individuals.

[link] illustrates the marginal costs that a firm faces in reducing pollution. The marginal cost of pollution reduction, like most most marginal cost curves increases with output, at least in the short run. Reducing the first 10 pounds of particulate emissions costs the firm $300. Reducing the second 10 pounds would cost $500; reducing the third ten pounds would cost $900; reducing the fourth 10 pounds would cost $1,500; and the fifth 10 pounds would cost $2,500. This pattern for the costs of reducing pollution is common, because the firm can use the cheapest and easiest method to make initial reductions in pollution, but additional reductions in pollution become more expensive.

A pollution charge

 The graph shows the incentive for a firm to reduce pollution in order to avoid paying a pollution charge.
If a pollution charge is set equal to $1,000, then the firm will have an incentive to reduce pollution by 30 pounds because the $900 cost of these reductions would be less than the cost of paying the pollution charge.

Imagine the firm now faces a pollution tax of $1,000 for every 10 pounds of particulates emitted. The firm has the choice of either polluting and paying the tax, or reducing the amount of particulates they emit and paying the cost of abatement as shown in the figure. How much will the firm pollute and how much will the firm abate? The first 10 pounds would cost the firm $300 to abate. This is substantially less than the $1,000 tax, so they will choose to abate. The second 10 pounds would cost $500 to abate, which is still less than the tax, so they will choose to abate. The third 10 pounds would cost $900 to abate, which is slightly less than the $1,000 tax. The fourth 10 pounds would cost $1,500, which is much more costly than paying the tax. As a result, the firm will decide to reduce pollutants by 30 pounds, because the marginal cost of reducing pollution by this amount is less than the pollution tax. With a tax of $1,000, the firm has no incentive to reduce pollution more than 30 pounds.

Questions & Answers

Adam Smith's definition of economics
Sylvia Reply
what is economic deficit
Amjad
prices of Quality demanded is equal to Quality supplied
NABUBOLO Reply
it's quantity demand and quantity supplied that's called equilibrium
Romy
no
NABUBOLO
they deal With prices
NABUBOLO
define the elasticity
NABUBOLO
explain different types of elasticity
NABUBOLO
oops 😬 you are right you talk about quality I tell about quantity
Romy
elasticity is the measurement of the percentage change of one economic variable in response to a change in another
Romy
Cross Elasticity of Demand (XED) Income Elasticity of Demand (YED) Price Elasticity of Supply (PES)
Romy
anything else?
Romy
How does one analyze a market where both demand and supply shift?
Gabriel Reply
That's equilibrium market
Ramon
but an equlibrum can appear twice on the same market... both in Movement along the Demand/supply curve of shift in the Curve
Gabriel
I Mean on the same curve..
Gabriel
how can consumer surplus be calculated
Franklyn
How can we analyze the effect on demand or supply if multiple factors are changing at the same time—say price rises and income falls? 
Gabriel Reply
because of fall of income, less will be demanded and much will be supply as a result of price rises. Rise in price always motivate new supplier to enter into the system. But it only possible in the short run
Kweku
yeah.. I think Ceteris Paribus is applied in this case
Gabriel
that is the law of Demand is Inversely related to the law of Supply... so that mean a positive change in demand may produce a negative return to supply I think.
Gabriel
what are the difference between Wants and Needs
Gabriel Reply
When the price is above the equilibrium, explain how market forces move the market price to equilibrium. Do the same when the price is below the equilibrium.
Gabriel
economic problems
Manishankar
yeah please Explain
Gabriel
I don't know this is my question
Manishankar
no it was a mistake...😂😂 can you explain how Wants and needs differs 😌
Gabriel
wants is what human desire but might not need them, human want are mostly articles of ostentatious while need is what human must get to live e.g inferior goods
Ramon
what's equilibrium price
james
equilibrium prices is a situation whereby the price of goods supplied equates to the demand
Ariel
this whereby the prices of quality demanded is equivalent to quality demanded
NABUBOLO
wants are numerous desire man that man can do without if not purchased e.g. cosmetic while need are desires that you cannot do without e.g. food
Franklyn
equilibrium price is that level of output were quantity demanded is equal to quantity supplied
Arthur
what are the importance of studying economics
Bherla Reply
To know if the country is growing or not through the country's GDP
Ariel
to manage our resources
TOBI
compare base years GDP and the current years GDP
james
To tell whether a country is growing there are many factors to be considered not necessarily only the GDP due to weaknesses of GDP approach
james
What is the law of demand
Yaw Reply
price increase demand decrease...price decrease demand increase
Mujahid
ıf the price increase the demand decrease and if the demand increase the price decrease
MUBARAK
all other things being equal, an increase in demand causes a decrease in supply and vice versa
SETHUAH
yah
Johnson
how is the economy of usa now
Johnson
What is demand
jude Reply
Demand is the quantity of goods and services a consumer is willing and able to purchase at various prices over a given period of time.
Yaw
yea
SETHUAH
Okay congratulations I'll join you guys later .
Aj
yes
MUBARAK
demand is the quantity and quality of goods and services a consumer is willingly and able to purchase at a particular price over a given period of time.
TOBI
calculate elasticity of income exercises
HABANABAKIZE Reply
If potatoes cost Jane $1 per kilogram and she has $5 that could possibly spend on potatoes or other items. If she feels that the first kilogram of potatoes is worth $1.50, the second kilogram is worth$1.14, the third is worth $1.05 and subsequent kilograms are worth $0.30, how many kilograms of potatoes will she purchase? What if she only had $2 to spend?
Susan Reply
cause of poverty in urban
DAVY Reply
QI: (A) Asume the following cost data are for a purely competitive producer: At a product price Of $56. will this firm produce in the short run? Why Why not? If it is preferable to produce, what will be the profit-maximizing Or loss-minimizing Output? Explain. What economic profit or loss will the
Falak Reply
what is money
DAVY Reply
money is any asset that is generally acceptable for the exchange of goods and for the settlement of debts
Mnoko
money is a generally acceptable asset used for the settlement of debt and exchange of goods and services,its also flexible
TOBI
what is economic
Stephen Reply
economics is the study of ways in which people use resources to satisfy their wants
Falak
what is Price mechanism
Dhany Reply
what is Economics
ERNESTINA
The study of resource allocation,distribution and consumption.
Emelyn

Get Jobilize Job Search Mobile App in your pocket Now!

Get it on Google Play




Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Principles of economics' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask