Measuring the CO shadow price for wastewater treatment: a directional distance function approach

M. Molinos-Senante, N. Hanley, R. Sala-Garrido

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    63 Citations (Scopus)


    The estimation of the value of carbon emissions has become a major research and policy topic since the establishment of the Kyoto Protocol. The shadow price of CO provides information about the marginal abatement cost of this pollutant. It is an essential element in guiding environmental policy issues, since the CO shadow price can be used when fixing carbon tax rates, in environmental cost-benefit analysis and in ascertaining an initial market price for a trading system. The water industry could play an important role in the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This paper estimates the shadow price of CO for a sample of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), using a parametric quadratic directional distance function. Following this, in a sensitivity analysis, the paper evaluates the impact of different settings of directional vectors on the shadow prices. Applying the Mann-Whitney and Kruskal-Wallis non-parametric tests, factors affecting CO prices are investigated. The variation of CO shadow prices across the WWTPs evaluated argues in favour of a market-based approach to CO mitigation as opposed to command-and-control regulation. The paper argues that the estimation of the shadow price of CO for non-power enterprises can provide incentives for reducing GHG emissions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)241-249
    Number of pages9
    JournalApplied Energy
    Early online date27 Feb 2015
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2015


    • CO2
    • Directional distance functio
    • Greenhouse gas
    • Shadow price
    • Quadratic function
    • Wastewater treatment


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