New Economics Papers
on Resource Economics
Issue of 2005‒04‒09
two papers chosen by

  1. Overlapping fiscal domains and effectiveness of environmental policy in India By Subrata Mandal; M. Govinda Rao
  2. Estimation of marginal abatement costs for undesirable outputs in India's power generation sector: An output distance function approach By Manish Gupta

  1. By: Subrata Mandal (National Institute of Public Finance and Policy); M. Govinda Rao (National Institute of Public Finance and Policy)
    Abstract: The paper analyses the assignment systems and implementation aspects of environmental regulation in regard to water, air, and forests. The assignment of environmental functions and its overlapping is analysed in terms of not only the different levels of government, but also between the executive and judiciary. Specifically, the paper examines judicial intervention in environmental protection in India and argues that judicial activism although can be construed as a part of "checks and balances" in a federal system, it cannot be a substitute to the failure of executive in undertaking the task of environmental protection. The paper also analyses the implementation aspects of environmental policy, particularly the effectiveness of policies and institutions relating to environmental governance. Despite a reasonably clear assignment system, the implementation of environmental functions has not been satisfactory. In most cases, an important factor impeding effective implementation is seen in the structure of incentives to bureaucracy and policy makers and influence of polluters on them. Besides, the environmental regulators do not have access to modern technology and inadequate resources to measure and regulate pollution levels. The paper highlights overlapping roles of executive and judiciary in implementing environmental regulation. In other words, failure of the executive to regulate and monitor pollution levels as well as forest cover has led to the Supreme Court intervention. Interpreting that access to clean water and air as a fundamental right, the courts have pronounced several judgements on the implementation of environmental regulation virtually taking over the role of executive. This has helped to resolve the issues in the short term and in some cases has led to the improvement in environmental quality. However, the solution is ad hoc as the courts cannot undertake the task of implementation nor do they have the technical knowledge to deal with complex problems of environmental regulation. Besides, technology is not static and mandating a technical solution through a judgement such as the use of a particular technology or particular fuel for running of commercial vehicles can create serious problems in the long term. The solution lies in reforming the incentive structure and institutions of governance to make the executive much more sensitive and accountable to environmental issues.
    Date: 2005–01
  2. By: Manish Gupta (National Institute of Public Finance and Policy; National Institute of Public Finance and Policy)
    Abstract: Many production activities generate undesirable byproducts in conjunction with the desirable outputs they produce. The present study uses an output distance function approach and its duality with the revenue function to estimate the marginal abatement cost of CO2 emissions from a sample of thermal plants in India. Two sets of exercises have been undertaken. The marginal abatement cost is first estimated without considering the distinction between the clean and the dirty plants (model-1) and then by differentiating between the two (model-2). The shadow prices of CO2 for the coal fired thermal plants in India for the period 1991-92 to 1999-2000 was found to be Rs. 3,380.59 per ton of CO2 as per model-1 and Rs. 2401.99 per ton of CO2 as per model-2. The wide variation noticed in the marginal abatement costs across plants is explained by the ratio of CO2 emissions to electricity generation, the different vintages of capital used by different plants in the generation of electricity and provisions for abatement of pollution. The relationship between firm specific shadow prices of CO2 and the index of efficiency (ratio of CO2 emission and electricity generation) points to the fact that the marginal cost of abating CO2 emissions increases with the efficiency of the thermal plant.
    Date: 2005–03

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