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The Incidence of Pollution Control Policies

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  • Ian W.H. Parry
  • Hilary Sigman
  • Margaret Walls
  • Roberton C. Williams III

Abstract

This paper reviews theoretical and empirical literature on the household distribution of the costs and benefits of pollution control policies, and ways of integrating distributional issues into environmental cost/benefit analysis. Most studies find that policy costs fall disproportionately on poorer groups, though this is less pronounced when lifetime income is used, and policies affect prices of inputs used pervasively across the economy. The policy instrument itself is also critical; freely allocated emission permits may hurt the poor the most, as they transfer income to shareholders via scarcity rents created by higher prices, while emissions taxes offer opportunities for progressive revenue recycling. And although low-income households appear to bear a disproportionate share of environmental risks, policies that reduce risks are not always progressive, for example, they may alter property values in ways that benefit the wealthy. The review concludes by noting a number of areas where future research is badly needed.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11438.

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Date of creation: Jun 2005
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11438

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Cited by:
  1. Kverndokk, Snorre & Rose, Adam, 2008. "Equity and Justice in Global Warming Policy," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 2(2), pages 135-176, October.
  2. Burtraw, Dallas & Sweeney, Richard & Walls, Margaret, 2008. "The Incidence of U.S. Climate Policy: Where You Stand Depends on Where You Sit," Discussion Papers dp-08-28, Resources For the Future.
  3. Aldy, Joseph E. & Ley, Eduardo & Parry, Ian W.H., 2008. "A Tax-Based Approach to Slowing Global Climate Change," Discussion Papers dp-08-26, Resources For the Future.
  4. Anni Huhtala & Eija Pouta, 2009. "Benefit Incidence of Public Recreation Areas—Have the Winners Taken Almost All?," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 43(1), pages 63-79, May.
  5. Corbett Grainger & Charles Kolstad, 2010. "Who Pays a Price on Carbon?," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 46(3), pages 359-376, July.
  6. Araar, Abdelkrim & Dissou, Yazid & Duclos, Jean-Yves, 2011. "Household incidence of pollution control policies: A robust welfare analysis using general equilibrium effects," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 227-243, March.
  7. Grainger, Corbett A., 2012. "The distributional effects of pollution regulations: Do renters fully pay for cleaner air?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 840-852.
  8. Janet Currie, 2011. "Inequality at Birth: Some Causes and Consequences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 1-22, May.
  9. Parry, Ian W.H. & Timilsina, Govinda R., 2009. "Pricing externalities from passenger transportation in Mexico city," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5071, The World Bank.
  10. Emmanuel Combet & Frédéric GHERSI & Jean Charles Hourcade, 2009. "Taxe carbone, une mesure socialement régressive ? Vrais problèmes et faux débats," CIRED Working Papers hal-00866409, HAL.
  11. Eskeland, Gunnar S. & Mideksa, Torben K., 2008. "Transportation fuel use, technology and standards: The role of credibility and expectations," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4695, The World Bank.
  12. Emmanuel Combet & Frédéric GHERSI & Jean Charles Hourcade, 2009. "Taxe carbone, une mesure socialement régressive ? Vrais problèmes et faux débats," Working Papers hal-00866409, HAL.
  13. Coxhead, Ian & Chan, Nguyen Van, 2011. "Vietnam's New Environmental Tax Law: What Will It Cost? Who Will Pay?," Staff Paper Series 561, University of Wisconsin, Agricultural and Applied Economics.
  14. Don Fullerton, 2008. "Distributional Effects of Environmental and Energy Policy: An Introduction," NBER Working Papers 14241, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Burtraw, Dallas & Sweeney, Richard & Walls, Margaret, 2009. "The Incidence of U.S. Climate Policy: Alternative Uses of Revenues from a Cap-and-Trade Auction," Discussion Papers dp-09-17-rev, Resources For the Future.
  16. Coxhead, Ian & Wattanakuljarus, Anan & Nguyen, Chan V., 2013. "Are Carbon Taxes Good for the Poor? A General Equilibrium Analysis for Vietnam," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 119-131.
  17. Matthew Riddle & James Boyce, 2007. "Cap and Dividend: How to Curb Global Warming while Protecting the Incomes of American Families," Working Papers wp150, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

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