Optimal environmental policy design for mine rehabilitation and pollution with a risk of non-compliance owing to firm insolvency

The modified Pigovian tax approach to regulating stock and flow pollutants from a non-renewable resource firm (Farzin, 1996) provides incentives for the firm to abate optimally, but does not allow for the possibility that a firm may become insolvent. In contrast, the current environmental bond policy applied in most jurisdictions across Australia and New Zealand provides funds in the case of insolvency, but often does not provide optimal incentives for rehabilitation. This study analyses these alternative policy approaches through a theoretical model and an empirical case study. From the case study for a mineral sands firm, the policy recommendation is that, based on economic efficiency alone, a modified Pigovian tax (termed here a damaged land tax) is optimal for most combinations of parameters. However, both risk-sharing and efficiency objectives can be simultaneously addressed by a mixed policy that includes a damaged land tax and an environmental bond.

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Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 56, 2
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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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