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Should the carbon price be the same in all countries?

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Abstract

International differences in fuel taxation are huge, and may be justified by different local negative externalities that taxes must correct, as well as by different preferences for public spending. In this context, should a worldwide unique carbon tax be added to these local taxes to correct the global warming externality? We address this question in a second best framework à la Ramsey, where public goods have to be financed through distortionary taxation and the cost of public funds has to be weighted against the utility of public goods. We show that when lump-sum transfers between countries are allowed for, the second best tax on the polluting good may be decomposed into three parts: one, country specific, dealing with the local negative externality, a second one, country specific, dealing with the cost of public funds, and a third one, global, dealing with the global externality and which can be interpreted as the carbon price. Our main contribution is to show that the uniqueness of the carbon price should still hold in this second best framework. Nevertheless, if lump-sum transfers between governments are impossible to implement, international differentiation of the carbon price is the only way to take care of equity concerns.

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Paper provided by Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne in its series Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne with number 11076.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mse:cesdoc:11076

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Keywords: Carbon price; second best; Pigovian taxation.;

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  1. Hikaru Ogawa & David Wildasin, 2007. "Think Locally, Act Locally: Spillovers, Spillbacks, and Efficient Decentralized Policymaking," Working Papers 2007-06, University of Kentucky, Institute for Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations.
  2. Atkinson, A. B. & Stiglitz, J. E., 1976. "The design of tax structure: Direct versus indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 55-75.
  3. Stéphane Gauthier & Guy Laroque, 2008. "Separability and public finance," IFS Working Papers W08/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  4. Graciela Chichilnisky & Geoffrey Heal, 1993. "Who Should Abate Carbon Emissions? An International Viewpoint," NBER Working Papers 4425, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Kristen A. Sheeran, 2006. "Who Should Abate Carbon Emissions? A Note," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 35(2), pages 89-98, October.
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  1. Differentiated carbon taxation
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2012-01-13 16:24:00

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