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Using Tax Expenditures to Achieve Energy Policy Goals

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  • Gilbert E. Metcalf

Abstract

Tax expenditures are a major source of support for energy related to activities in the federal budget exceeding direct budget support for energy by a factor of nearly six. Focusing on the policy goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and petroleum consumption, I find these tax expenditures highly cost ineffective at best and counterproductive at worse. The tax credit for ethanol is an example of a cost ineffective subsidy. The cost of reducing CO2 emissions through this subsidy exceeded $1,700 per ton of CO2 avoided in 2006 and the cost of reducing oil consumption over $85 per barrel.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.98.2.90
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 98 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 90-94

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:98:y:2008:i:2:p:90-94

Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.98.2.90
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References

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  1. Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2006. "Energy Conservation in the United States: Understanding its Role in Climate Policy," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0609, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  2. Parry, Ian & Small, Kenneth, 2002. "Does Britain or the United States Have the Right Gasoline Tax?," Discussion Papers dp-02-12-, Resources For the Future.
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Cited by:
  1. Guerriero, Carmine, 2013. "The political economy of incentive regulation: Theory and evidence from US states," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 91-107.
  2. Arik Levinson, 2011. "Belts and Suspenders: Interactions among Climate Policy Regulations," NBER Chapters, in: The Design and Implementation of U.S. Climate Policy, pages 127-140 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Guerriero, Carmine, 2011. "Accountability in government and regulatory policies: Theory and evidence," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 453-469.
  4. Doug Auld, 2008. "The Ethanol Trap: Why Policies to Promote Ethanol as Fuel Need Rethinking," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 268, July.
  5. Li, Shanjun & Linn, Joshua & Spiller, Elisheba, 2010. "Evaluating “Cash-for-Clunkers”: Program Effect on Auto Sales, Jobs, and the Environment," Discussion Papers dp-10-39, Resources For the Future.

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