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The most popular tax in Europe? Lessons from the Irish plastic bags levy

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Author Info

  • Frank Convery
  • Simon McDonnell

    ()

  • Susana Ferreira

Abstract

There have been occasional ad hoc efforts to influence consumer behaviour by the imposition of product taxes that reflect external costs imposed by such products that are not initially included in their price. In the spirit of this idea, in 2002 Ireland introduced a 15 Euro cent tax on plastic shopping bags, previously provided free of charge to customers at points of sale. The effect of the tax on the use of plastic bags in retail outlets has been dramatic—a reduction in use in the order of 90%, and an associated gain in the form of reduced littering and negative landscape effects. Costs of administration have been very low, amounting to about 3% of revenues, because it was possible to integrate reporting and collection into existing Value Added Tax reporting systems. Response from the main stakeholders: the public and the retail industry, has been overwhelmingly positive. Central to this acceptance has been a policy of extensive consultation with these stakeholders. The fact that a product tax can influence consumer behaviour significantly will be of interest to many policymakers in this area. This paper analyses the plastic bag levy success story and provides insights and general guidelines for other jurisdictions planning similar proposals. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10640-006-9059-2
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in its journal Environmental and Resource Economics.

Volume (Year): 38 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (September)
Pages: 1-11

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Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:38:y:2007:i:1:p:1-11

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100263

Related research

Keywords: Environmental taxes; Product taxes; Plastic bag tax; Litter; Ireland;

References

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  1. Chongwoo Choe & Iain Fraser, 2001. "On the Flexibility of Optimal Policies for Green Design," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 18(4), pages 367-371, April.
  2. Adam B. Jaffe et al., 1995. "Environmental Regulation and the Competitiveness of U.S. Manufacturing: What Does the Evidence Tell Us?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(1), pages 132-163, March.
  3. Lawrence Goulder, 1995. "Environmental taxation and the double dividend: A reader's guide," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 2(2), pages 157-183, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Benno Torgler & Maria A. Garcia-Valinas & Alison Macintyre, 2012. "Justifiability of Littering: An Empirical Investigation," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 21(2), pages 209-231, May.
  2. Don Fullerton & Andrew Leicester & Stephen Smith, 2008. "Environmental Taxes," NBER Working Papers 14197, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Harald SCHOENBERGER & David STYLES & Jose Luis GALVEZ MARTOS, 2013. "Best Environmental Management Practice in the Retail Trade Sector," JRC-IPTS Working Papers JRC76036, Institute for Prospective and Technological Studies, Joint Research Centre.
  4. Dikgang, Johane & Visser, Martine, 2010. "Behavioral Response to Plastic Bag Legislation in Botswana," Discussion Papers dp-10-13-efd, Resources For the Future.
  5. Flora Budianto & Jana Lippelt, 2010. "Kurz zum Klima: Plastiktüten - nicht länger tragbar," Ifo Schnelldienst, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 63(14), pages 41-43, 07.

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