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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19259

Title: Marketing Institutions of Afforestation Generated Carbon Offsets in Canada: Political Sustainability, Ideology and the New Institutional Economics
Authors: Biggs, Jeffrey
Advisor: Smith, Tat
Department: Forestry
Keywords: afforestation
new institutional economics
carbon offset
Issue Date: 3-Mar-2010
Abstract: Anthropogenically forced climate change has emerged as one of the most important, and polarizing, issues of our time. Afforestation generated carbon offset projects hold a position in Canada as potentially influential, yet frustratingly under-utilized, options to mitigate climate change. This dissertation responds to the question, “what are the economic implications of afforestation generated carbon offset institutions in Canada – and how appropriate are the tools of the New Institutional Economics (NIE) in their identification?” I establish the context for discussion by arguing that the NIE, as practiced, seems incapable of providing rigorous analysis while simultaneously responding to questions of power and distribution. The case of afforestation generated carbon offset marketing is presented as an appropriate context for exploring this point. A literature review is then used to establish general patterns regarding aggregating institutions for offset production and marketing, and aggregating institutions are presented as a response to the effects of transaction costs on the Canadian offset market. I then develop supply and demand curves to describe the equilibrium state of the Canadian offset market, into which the transaction costs borne by three aggregators are integrated. Their performance in fulfilling various policy objectives is evaluated. The results indicate that the primary variation between scenarios is the distribution of benefits. This focus on the distribution of benefits continues through demonstrating how subtle variations in modeling coefficients affect the regional distribution of afforestation projects within Canada, identifying the power associated with policy maker ideology. The role of policy maker ideology is then explicitly examined through a survey of government analysts and technicians and the application of discriminant analysis. The primary axes of afforestation ideology are identified, and demonstrated to be independent of concerns of transaction costs and aggregation. These results are integrated to argue that distributional concerns, particularly when ideologies are active in informing policy maker preferences, are critical to achieving sustainable policy outcomes, and that the NIE can respond to such concerns, but only if reform takes place to legitimate these techniques as part of the standard economic discourse.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/19259
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Faculty of Forestry - Doctoral theses

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