Mind your Ps and Qs! Variable allowance supply in the US Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

Lana Friesen, Lata Gangadharan, Peyman Khezr, Ian A. MacKenzie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate the new institutional design for the US Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The scheme incorporates two allowance reserves that adjust the supply of allowances in the event of unexpectedly high or low allowance demand. These reserves are enacted if the clearing price breaches a predetermined set of trigger prices. Our experiment finds trigger prices act as focal points: the distribution of clearing prices is bimodal and aligns with the trigger prices. We find the existence of focal points can be explained by both the institutional design and subjects’ behavior. Further, decreasing the range between trigger prices increases total revenue but decreases allocative efficiency. The regulation is more sensitive to changes in trigger prices than reserve quantities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102620
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Environmental Economics and Management
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • Experiment
  • Pollution allowances
  • Supply reserve

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