Journal Article

Negative Externalities and Evolutionary Implementation

William H. Sandholm

in The Review of Economic Studies

Published on behalf of Review of Economic Studies Ltd

Volume 72, issue 3, pages 885-915
Published in print July 2005 | ISSN: 0034-6527
Published online July 2005 | e-ISSN: 1467-937X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-937X.2005.00355.x
Negative Externalities and Evolutionary Implementation

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We model externality abatement as an implementation problem. A social planner would like to ensure efficient behaviour among a group of agents whose actions are sources of externalities. However, the planner has limited information about the agents' preferences, and is unable to distinguish individual agents except through their action choices. We prove that if a concavity condition on aggregate payoffs is satisfied, the planner can guarantee that efficient behaviour is globally stable under a wide range of behaviour adjustment processes by administering a variable pricing scheme. Through a series of applications, we show that the concavity condition is naturally satisfied in settings involving negative externalities. We conclude by contrasting the performance of the pricing mechanism with that of a mechanism based on direct revelation and announcement dependent forcing contracts.

Keywords: D62

Journal Article.  16025 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Welfare Economics

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