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The demand for earmarking: Results from a focus group study

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  • Kallbekken, Steffen
  • Aasen, Marianne

Abstract

Environmental taxes might be efficient, but plans to impose new taxes are often met with fierce public resistance. In order to design environmental taxes that are both efficient and acceptable to the public -- so that they can be politically feasible -- it is important to understand public attitudes towards environmental taxes. We conduct a focus group study in Norway to extend the current knowledge on this issue. We find less general resistance to taxation as a policy instrument, and seemingly more trust in government, than what has been reported in similar studies from other countries. The participants are, however, very skeptical and do not see the point of using the revenues from an environmental tax to reduce other taxes, such as the payroll tax. Instead they express a very strong preference for earmarking the revenues for environmental purposes. They also call for more information about environmental taxes, in particular on how the revenues are spent. Providing more information, including what the revenues are spent on -- irrespective of whether they are earmarked or not, would seem to provide a relatively cheap and possibly effective way to increase the public acceptability of new or increased environmental taxes.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

Volume (Year): 69 (2010)
Issue (Month): 11 (September)
Pages: 2183-2190

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:69:y:2010:i:11:p:2183-2190

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

Related research

Keywords: Environmental taxes Earmarking Focus groups Public acceptability;

References

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  1. Dresner, Simon & Dunne, Louise & Clinch, Peter & Beuermann, Christiane, 2006. "Social and political responses to ecological tax reform in Europe: an introduction to the special issue," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 895-904, May.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Kallbekken, Steffen & Sælen, Håkon, 2011. "Public acceptance for environmental taxes: Self-interest, environmental and distributional concerns," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 2966-2973, May.
  2. Abbiati, Lorenzo & Antinyan, Armenak & Corazzini, Luca, 2014. "Are taxes beautiful? A survey experiment on information, tax choice and perceived adequacy of the tax burden," IWQW Discussion Paper Series 02/2014, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Institut für Wirtschaftspolitik und Quantitative Wirtschaftsforschung (IWQW).
  3. Kallbekken, Steffen & Garcia, Jorge H. & Korneliussen, Kristine, 2013. "Determinants of public support for transport taxes," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 67-78.
  4. Sclen, Håkon & Kallbekken, Steffen, 2011. "A choice experiment on fuel taxation and earmarking in Norway," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(11), pages 2181-2190, September.
  5. Fochmann, Martin & Kroll, Eike B., 2014. "The effects of rewards on tax compliance decisions," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 163, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
  6. Steffen Kallbekken & Stephan Kroll & Todd L Cherry, 2010. "Pigouvian tax aversion and inequity aversion in the lab," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 30(3), pages 1914-1921.
  7. David Heres & Steffen Kallbekken & Ibon Galarraga, 2013. "Understanding Public Support for Externality-Correcting Taxes and Subsidies: A Lab Experiment," Working Papers 2013-04, BC3.

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