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Political competition within and between parties: an application to environmental policy

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  • Cremer, Helmuth
  • De Donder, Philippe
  • Gahvari, Firouz

Abstract

This paper presents a political economy model that explains the low rate of emission taxes in the U.S., as well as the fact that neither Democrats nor Republicans propose to increase them. The voters differ according to their wage and capital incomes which are assumed to have a bivariate lognormal distribution. They vote over the emission tax rate and a budgetary rule that specifies how to redistribute the tax proceeds. The political competition is modeled à la Roemer (2001) where the two parties care for the policies they propose as well as the probability of winning; the equilibrium solution concept is the Party Unanimity Nash Equilibrium (PUNE). We calibrate the model using U.S. data and compute the PUNEs numerically. Two main results emerge. All "viable" PUNEs entail subsidies on emissions (as opposed to taxes). This indicates the importance of distributional concerns in garnering political support for environmental policies. Second, parties always propose an interior value for the budgetary rule even though all citizens prefer extreme values. This illustrates the emergence of political compromise to attract voters.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5228.

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Date of creation: Sep 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5228

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Keywords: distributional concerns; Emission taxes; political competition; political compromise; PUNE;

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References

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  1. Marsiliani, Laura & Renstrom, Thomas I, 2000. "Time Inconsistency in Environmental Policy: Tax Earmarking as a Commitment Solution," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C123-38, March.
  2. John Roemer, 2003. "The Democratic Political Economy Of Progressive Income Taxation," Working Papers 9711, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  3. E. Raphael Branch, 1993. "Short Run Income Elasticity of Demand for Residential Electricity Using Consumer Expenditure Survey Data," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 111-122.
  4. Brett, Craig & Keen, Michael, 2000. "Political uncertainty and the earmarking of environmental taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 315-340, March.
  5. Fullerton, Don, 1991. "Reconciling Recent Estimates of the Marginal Welfare Cost of Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 302-08, March.
  6. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz & Ladoux, Norbert, 2003. "Environmental taxes with heterogeneous consumers: an application to energy consumption in France," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2791-2815, December.
  7. Cremer, Helmuth & De Donder, Philippe & Gahvari, Firouz, 2008. "Political competition within and between parties: An application to environmental policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 532-547, April.
  8. Bos, Dieter, 2000. "Earmarked taxation: welfare versus political support," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 439-462, March.
  9. Helmuth Cremer & Philippe De Donder & Firouz Gahvari, 2004. "Taxes, Budgetary Rule and Majority Voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 119(3_4), pages 335-358, 06.
  10. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
  11. Levy, Gilat, 2004. "A model of political parties," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 250-277, April.
  12. Marcel Boyer & Jean-Jacques Laffont, 1999. "Toward a Political Theory of the Emergence of Environmental Incentive Regulation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 30(1), pages 137-157, Spring.
  13. James M. Poterba, 1991. "Tax Policy to Combat Global Warming: On Designing a Carbon Tax," NBER Working Papers 3649, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Helmuth Cremer & Philippe De Donder & Firouz Gahvari, 2004. "Political Sustainability and the Design of Environmental Taxes," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 11(6), pages 703-719, November.
  15. Cremer Helmuth & De Donder Philippe & Gahvari Firouz, 2007. "Energy Taxes in Three Political Economy Models," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-29, July.
  16. Massimo Filippini, 1999. "Swiss residential demand for electricity," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(8), pages 533-538.
  17. Laslier, Jean-Francois & Picard, Nathalie, 2002. "Distributive Politics and Electoral Competition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 106-130, March.
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