Manon's Econ Blog

Earth Week – No printing day!

Posted on: April 20, 2010

This week at the school, we are having an “Earth Week,” and today is the no-printing day. The Eco Club is trying to cut down the consumption by banning students from using the printer. This is because of the negative externality of consumption shown on the diagram below.

Since the MPB and the MSB are different, there is a negative externality. The goal for the eco club is to reduce the price from P1 to Popt and the quantity from Q1 to Qopt. The solution it has found for this is to ban the printer for students, and as a consequence demand will fall, as shown on the diagram below.

This decrease in demand is both caused by the banning policy and by the advertisement for teachers to not use printers today.

The incentives for the Eco Club to create this policy is to save energies such as electricity and paper in order to avoid the cutting of trees. The school also had incentives to let this policy happen because it wants to cut down its costs and save money: by not printing, we do not consume electricity, paper and ink.

The policy was effective in the sense that we saved electricity and ink in the short term for that day, but in the long term people printed everything anyway (usually on the next day) so it was not as effective as it could be. The ban plus some advertising and some incentives all together may work better than just ban and advert. I think people were not concerned with Earth Week so much because they had no incentives to do so.


1 Response to "Earth Week – No printing day!"

A good analysis of the negative externality. Do you think banning or advertising is more effective? Do you have other suggestions?

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