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Public acceptance for environmental taxes: Self-interest, environmental and distributional concerns

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  • Kallbekken, Steffen
  • Sælen, Håkon

Abstract

While strongly recommended by economists, it has often been politically difficult to impose taxes on externalities. There is a substantial literature on public attitudes towards environmental taxes. There has, however, been few comprehensive attempts to understand attitudes towards environmental taxes. The main research question in this paper is which factors influence support for fuel taxation. We propose a model of attitudes towards fuel taxation, and test this model as well as more specific hypotheses, using data from a representative survey of the adult Norwegian population. Our results suggest that support for fuel taxation is best predicted by beliefs about environmental consequences, followed by beliefs about consequences to others. Beliefs about consequences to self (self-interest) is the factor that explains the least variation in support for fuel taxation. The academically interesting result that support cannot be well explained without capturing a broad range of motivational factors is also highly policy relevant. It implies that there is no magic formula for increasing public support for environmental taxes. There are, however, some issues which can be addressed: trust in how well the government spends the revenue, and the perception that taxation does very little to change behaviour and thus to reduce environmental problems.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Policy.

Volume (Year): 39 (2011)
Issue (Month): 5 (May)
Pages: 2966-2973

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Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:39:y:2011:i:5:p:2966-2973

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

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Keywords: Public support Environmental taxes Fuel taxes;

References

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  1. Kallbekken, Steffen & Aasen, Marianne, 2010. "The demand for earmarking: Results from a focus group study," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(11), pages 2183-2190, September.
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  7. 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.
  8. Satoshi Fujii & Tommy Gärling & Cecilia Jakobsson & Rong-Chang Jou, 2004. "A cross-country study of fairness and infringement on freedom as determinants of car owners' acceptance of road pricing," Transportation, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 285-295, August.
  9. Eliasson, Jonas & Mattsson, Lars-Göran, 2006. "Equity effects of congestion pricing: Quantitative methodology and a case study for Stockholm," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 40(7), pages 602-620, August.
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  12. Hsu, Shi-Ling & Walters, Joshua & Purgas, Anthony, 2008. "Pollution tax heuristics: An empirical study of willingness to pay higher gasoline taxes," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 3612-3619, September.
  13. Winslott-Hiselius, Lena & Brundell-Freij, Karin & Vagland, Asa & Byström, Camilla, 2009. "The development of public attitudes towards the Stockholm congestion trial," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 43(3), pages 269-282, March.
  14. Shammin, Md Rumi & Bullard, Clark W., 2009. "Impact of cap-and-trade policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions on U.S. households," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(8-9), pages 2432-2438, June.
  15. McAusland, Carol, 2003. "Voting for pollution policy: the importance of income inequality and openness to trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 425-451, December.
  16. 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.
  17. Philippe Thalmann, 2004. "The Public Acceptance of Green Taxes: 2 Million Voters Express Their Opinion," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 119(1_2), pages 179-217, 04.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. David Heres & Steffen Kallbekken & Ibon Galarraga, 2013. "Understanding Public Support for Externality-Correcting Taxes and Subsidies: A Lab Experiment," Working Papers 2013-04, BC3.
  2. Markus Pasche, 2013. "What Can be Learned from Behavioural Economics for Environmental Policy?," Jena Economic Research Papers 2013-020, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  3. Yusuf, Juita-Elena (Wie) & O’Connell, Lenahan & Anuar, Khairul A., 2014. "For whom the tunnel be tolled: A four-factor model for explaining willingness-to-pay tolls," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 13-21.
  4. Spencer, Thomas & Carole-Anne, Senit & Anna, Drutschinin, 2012. "The political economy of Australia’s climate change and clean energy legislation: lessons learned," MPRA Paper 43669, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Galarraga, Ibon & Abadie, Luis M. & Ansuategi, Alberto, 2013. "Efficiency, effectiveness and implementation feasibility of energy efficiency rebates: The “Renove” plan in Spain," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(S1), pages S98-S107.
  6. 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.
  7. Ekaterina Rhodes & Mark Jaccard, 2013. "A Tale of Two Climate Policies: Political Economy of British Columbia's Carbon Tax and Clean Electricity Standard," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 39(s2), pages 37-52, August.

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