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Environmental considerations in tax policy design

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  • WHALLEY, JOHN

Abstract

This paper discusses how environmental considerations will affect tax policy in the decades ahead. It argues that, in the future, interactions between tax and environmental policy are likely to go well beyond recent discussion of double divided issues, and that internalization of environmental externalities via tax policy will be the goal, which inevitably will involve the particular rather than the general. As a result, notions of neutrality which dominate current thinking on tax design will come under challenge; and in ways which will go well beyond current discussion of special treatment for particular goods and industries on environmental grounds. special treatment of environmentally harmful methods of production, more so than of goods and industries as under present tax policies, will be the name of the game. Moreover, the informational requirements of such an approach to tax policy are likely to be large. The paper concludes by pointing out that if environmental quality is a luxury good, as many suppose, with income elasticity of demand greater than one, then high income households will gain disproportionately from internalization of the externalities at issue. This may fuel pressures for more redistribution elsewhere in the tax system than is currently the case.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Environment and Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 4 (1999)
Issue (Month): 01 (February)
Pages: 111-124

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Handle: RePEc:cup:endeec:v:4:y:1999:i:01:p:111-124_00

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  1. Browning, Edgar K, 1976. "The Marginal Cost of Public Funds," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(2), pages 283-98, April.
  2. Browning, Edgar K, 1987. "On the Marginal Welfare Cost of Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 11-23, March.
  3. Stephen Smith, 1992. "Taxation and the environment: a survey," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 13(4), pages 21-57, January.
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