Disguised Protectionism? Environmental Policy in the Japanese Car Market

Author Name KITANO Taiju  (Hitotsubashi University)
Creation Date/NO. June 2013 13-E-059
Research Project Basic Research for a New Industrial Policy
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The US government criticized Japanese environmental policies, which promoted eco-friendly car (eco-car) purchases via measures such as tax exemptions and subsidies, as disguised forms of protection by arguing that the fuel economy standard for the subsidy qualification was designed to be more beneficial to domestic firms. This paper examines Japanese environmental policies from 2005-2009 to assess whether or not they were adequately formulated from an environmental perspective. The analysis compares the outcomes between the actual fuel economy standard for subsidy qualification introduced in Japan and an alternative standard suggested by the US government. Simulation results based on the structural econometric model of multi-product oligopolistic competition show that although both alternative and actual standards are comparable for the average fuel economy of new cars sold, the former is inefficient in improving the fuel economy because it requires much larger subsidies to achieve the same average fuel economy level as that of the latter.