Past Seminar

Air Pollution Dynamics and the Need for Temporarily Differentiated Road Pricing

Apr 25, 2013

About the Event

Air Pollution Dynamics and the Need for Temporarily Differentiated Road Pricing
RFF Academic Seminar
Jessica Coria, Associate Professor,
Department of Economics, School of Business,
Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg
The assimilative capacity is defined as the capacity of an environment to receive a given level of emissions, degrading or dispersing them and converting them in harmless substances to humans or ecosystems. In the case of urban air pollution, it is mainly driven by the meteorological factors that govern air mixing and dispersion of the pollutants. Due to the large temporal variation of these factors, there is a strong diurnal variation in the assimilative capacity, in addition to the diurnal variation in hourly traffic flows and vehicular emissions. In this paper we investigate the effects of the temporal variation of the assimilative capacity on pollution concentration and illustrate the need for temporally differentiated road pricing through an application to the case of the congestion charge in Stockholm, Sweden.
By accounting explicitly for the role of the assimilative capacity on optimal road pricing, we allow for a more comprehensive view of the economy-ecology interactions at stake, showing that price differentiation is an optimal response to the physical environment; higher fees at a certain time of the day are optimal since they discourage traffic when the assimilate capacity is constrained. Moreover, our results are of practical relevance since most congestion charges in place do resemble variable price schemes to some extent as they incorporate price bans to mitigate congestion. Our analysis indicates that such price variations should also be a response to limited air mixing resulting in reduced assimilative capacity.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
12:00 - 1:30 p.m.
Lunch will be provided.
7th Floor Conference Room
1616 P St. NW
Washington, DC 20036
All seminars will be in the 7th Floor Conference Room at RFF, 1616 P Street NW. Attendance is open, but involves pre-registration no later than two days prior to the event. For questions and to register to an event, please contact Khadija Hill at (tel. 202-328-5174). Updates to our academic seminars schedule will be posted at


  • Jessica Coria