Permit Markets with Political and Market Distortions

Alex Dickson, Ian A. MacKenzie

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paper

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This article investigates the cost effectiveness of cap-and-trade markets in the presence of both political and market distortions. We create a model where dominant firms have the ability to rent seek for a share of pollution permits as well as influence the market equilibrium with their choice of permit exchange because of market power. We derive the subgame-perfect equilibrium and show the interaction of these two distortions has consequences for the resulting allocative efficiency of the market. We find that if the dominant rent-seeking firms are all permit buyers (or a composition of buyers and sellers) then allocative efficiency is improved relative to the case without rent seeking; by contrast, if the dominant rent-seeking firms are all permit sellers then allocative efficiency reduces.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationGlasgow
PublisherUniversity of Strathclyde
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2020


  • pollution market
  • market power
  • rent seeking
  • cap-and-trade markets


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