- Breaking collusion in auctions through speculation: an experiment on CO2 emission permit markets
- Journal of Public Economic Theory
- Volume | Issue number
- 13 | 5
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB)
- Amsterdam School of Economics Research Institute (ASE-RI)
The European Emission Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) has chosen to adopt an auctioning procedure to initially allocate CO2 emission permits. Free allocation of permits will become an exception for the third phase (2013-2020) and most firms will have to buy all their permits on the market or via auctions. The ability of bidders to collude is a key concern about the design of the auction format. To counter collusion, the auction can be open to bidders without compliance obligations (speculators). This paper aims at studying experimentally speculation as a collusion-breaking device in two different auction mechanisms: the uniform-price sealed-bid auction and the ascending clock auction. Our results suggest that a uniform sealed-bid auction open to speculators should be chosen from a revenue maximization point of view. In this mechanism, compliance agents adopt an aggressive strategy toward speculators. This strategy significantly increases the seller's revenue, compared to the more collusive clock auction. In the latter, on the contrary, bidders accommodate speculators, letting them buy permits in the auction and buying their necessary permits on the secondary market. However, as opening the auction to speculators deteriorates efficiency, the regulator faces a trade-off between these two objectives.
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