NBER

Robert I. Harris

Duke University
201 Science Drive
Durham, NC 27708

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: Duke University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

September 2020Using Taxes to Meet an Emission Target
with William A. Pizer: w27781
A sizeable number of papers beginning with Roberts and Spence (1976) have studied the use of price floors and ceilings (or “collars”) to manage prices in tradable permit markets. In contrast, economists have only recently begun examining polices to manage quantities under a pollution tax. Importantly, it can be difficult to know how to evaluate these policies, as papers dating back to Pizer (2002) suggest welfare is maximized by not focusing on quantities in the first place. In this paper, we propose an objective function to evaluate these alternative “carbon tax policies to meet an emission target.” The objective function includes a discrete jump in marginal emission consequences at the target, where the discontinuity can be interpreted as a true benefit measure or a necessary political c...
November 2018Heterogeneous Environmental and Grid Benefits from Rooftop Solar and the Costs of Inefficient Siting Decisions
with Steven E. Sexton, A. Justin Kirkpatrick, Nicholas Z. Muller: w25241
Federal and state policies in the U.S. subsidize electricity generation from 1.4 million rooftop solar arrays because of pollution avoidance benefits and grid congestion relief. Yet because these benefits vary across the U.S. according to solar irradiance, technologies of electricity generators, and grid characteristics, the value of these benefits, and, consequently, the optimal subsidy, are largely unknown. Policy, therefore, is unlikely to have induced efficient solar investments. This paper (1) provides the first systematic, theoretically consistent, and empirically valid estimates of pollution damages avoidable by solar capacity in each U.S. zip code, (2) relates these external benefits to subsidy levels in each U.S. state, and (3) estimates the share of these benefits that spillover ...

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