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Health effects and optimal environmental taxes in welfare state countries

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  • Jean-Christophe Caffet

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    (EUREQua)

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    Abstract

    Most studies on the green tax reform issue point out that environmental taxes exacerbate pre-existing tax distortions, thereby increasing the welfare costs associated with the overall tax code. As a result, the optimal environmental tax should lie below the Pigovian level (or marginal social damages). This article challenges this finding by arguing that health benefits from reduced pollution may sufficiently affect labor supply to create benefit-side tax interactions which, in turn, may be of the same magnitude as cost-side ones. Using a simple general equilibrium model that assumes the existence of a social security system, this paper shows that the optimal environmental tax rate could be greater than traditionally thought.

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    File URL: ftp://mse.univ-paris1.fr/pub/mse/cahiers2005/V05049.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1) in its series Cahiers de la Maison des Sciences Economiques with number v05049.

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    Length: 22 pages
    Date of creation: Jul 2005
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:mse:wpsorb:v05049

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    Keywords: Environmental tax; double dividend; employment; health; social security.;

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    1. Goulder, Lawrence H. & Parry, Ian W. H. & Williams III, Roberton C. & Burtraw, Dallas, 1999. "The cost-effectiveness of alternative instruments for environmental protection in a second-best setting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 329-360, June.
    2. Lawrence H. Goulder, 1994. "Environmental Taxation and the "Double Dividend:" A Reader's Guide," NBER Working Papers 4896, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Ian W. H. Parry & Roberton C. Williams III & Lawrence H. Goulder, 1997. "When Can Carbon Abatement Policies Increase Welfare? The Fundamental Role of Distorted Factor Markets," NBER Working Papers 5967, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Ronnie Schöb, 2003. "The Double Dividend Hypothesis of Environmental Taxes: A Survey," Working Papers 2003.60, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    5. Williams III, Roberton C., 2003. "Health effects and optimal environmental taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 323-335, February.
    6. Jesse Schwartz & Robert Repetto, 2000. "Nonseparable Utility and the Double Dividend Debate: Reconsidering the Tax-Interaction Effect," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 15(2), pages 149-157, February.
    7. Bovenberg, A Lans & van der Ploeg, Frederick, 1992. "Environmental Policy, Public Finance and the Labour Market in a Second-best World," CEPR Discussion Papers 745, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Bovenberg, A Lans & Goulder, Lawrence H, 1996. "Optimal Environmental Taxation in the Presence of Other Taxes: General-Equilibrium Analyses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 985-1000, September.
    9. Bovenberg, A. Lans & Goulder, Lawrence H., 1997. "Costs of Environmentally Motivated Taxes in the Presence of Other Taxes: General Equilibrium Analyses," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 50(1), pages 59-88, March.
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    13. Sarah E. West & Roberton C. Williams, 2004. "Empirical Estimates for Environmental Policy Making in a Second-Best Setting," NBER Working Papers 10330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    16. Pearce, David W, 1991. "The Role of Carbon Taxes in Adjusting to Global Warming," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(407), pages 938-48, July.
    17. Harrington, Winston & Portney, Paul R., 1987. "Valuing the benefits of health and safety regulation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 101-112, July.
    18. Parry Ian W. H., 1995. "Pollution Taxes and Revenue Recycling," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages S64-S77, November.
    19. Kahn, James R. & Farmer, Amy, 1999. "The double dividend, second-best worlds, and real-world environmental policy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 433-439, September.
    20. Terkla, David, 1984. "The efficiency value of effluent tax revenues," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 107-123, June.
    21. Parry, Ian & Bento, Antonio, 1999. "Tax Deductible Spending, Environmental Policy, and the "Double Dividend" Hypothesis," Discussion Papers dp-99-24, Resources For the Future.
    22. Roberton C. Williams, 2000. "Environmental Tax Interactions When Pollution Affects Health or Productivity," NBER Working Papers 8049, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Lawrence H. Goulder & Ian W.H. Parry & Dallas Burtraw, 1997. "Revenue-Raising versus Other Approaches to Environmental Protection: The Critical Significance of Preexisting Tax Distortions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 28(4), pages 708-731, Winter.
    24. Ian Parry, 1998. "A Second-Best Analysis of Environmental Subsidies," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 5(2), pages 153-170, May.
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