Free emission permits and public revenue
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- Working papers (SNF) 
In the presence of preexisting distortionary taxes, it is often argued that auctioned emission permits are preferable to non-auctioned permits, because the former generate revenues that may be used to reduce other taxes. This paper shows that when capital is internationally mobile, it may be optimal to use a combination of non-auctioned and auctioned emission permits, for both environmental and fiscal reasons. By letting the number of non-auctioned permits be a positive function of the amount of capital used domestically, they will attract capital to the home country. This may create environmental benefits in terms of reduced transboundary pollution and may lead to increased public revenue because the price of emission permits may increase. It is also shown that the optimal number of non-auctioned permits may increase as the marginal costs of public funds increase.