Defended thesis

“Public economic policies to limit CO2 emissions from car use”, Bénédicte Meurisse

Published on 07 December 2015

November 2015

Bénédicte Meurisse defended her PhD “Public economic policies to limit CO2 emissions from car use” at Paris Ouest Nanterre – La Défense University.


This Thesis analyses public economic policies enabling to reduce CO2 emissions from car use. Implementing these tools is legitimate and necessary because of the high contribution of passenger vehicles to climate change (17% of CO2 emissions in France in 2010).  Within a partial and static equilibrium model of the car market, the present research considers two distinct levers to cut CO2 emissions from car use: the improvements of passenger vehicles energy-efficiency, and a reduction in miles driven. In the first Chapter dedicated to an analysis of the supply-side of the automotive system, the research question consists in investigating on the one hand whether a cooperation among actors of the automotive sector leads to the production of vehicles that are less fuel-consuming than without the cooperation; and on the other hand whether this cooperation could be a substitute to a policy intervention. The impact of the demand for low fuel-consuming vehicles on the producers’ decision to invest and to cooperate is demonstrated; this justifies the implementation of policy tools stimulating demand. Hence, the second Chapter is dedicated to an analysis of the demand for vehicles and kilometres. Emphasis is placed on the interdependency between car choice and car use, which is at the root of the well-known phenomenon of rebound effect. The aim is to study the impact of that rebound effect on the efficiency of differentiated car purchase taxes and car use taxes. Lastly, the ambition of the last Chapter is to take the impacts of the latter pricing tools on households’ utility and automotive sector’s profit into account. More generally, the purpose is to investigate whether public decision-makers are able to mitigate CO2 emissions from car use while improving households’ well-being and economic growth.

Key words: CO2 emissions; Passenger vehicles; Automotive sector; Car purchase and use; Transportation public policies; Rebound effect.

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