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Designing A Carbon Tax to Reduce U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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  • Gilbert E. Metcalf

Abstract

This article describes a revenue and distributionally neutral approach to reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions that uses a carbon tax. The revenue from the carbon tax is used to finance an environmental earned income tax credit designed to be distributionally neutral. The credit is linked to earned income and helps offset the regressivity of the carbon tax. The carbon tax reform proposal is also revenue neutral and avoids conflating carbon policy with debates over the appropriate size of the federal budget. The article provides a distributional analysis of the proposal and also makes a number of political, economic and administrative arguments in favor of a carbon tax and responds to the arguments that have commonly been made against using a tax-based approach to reducing U.S. emissions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14375.

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Date of creation: Oct 2008
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Publication status: published as Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2009. "Designing a Carbon Tax to Reduce U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Oxford University Press for Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 3(1), pages 63-83, Winter.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14375

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  1. Metcalf, Gilbert E., 1999. "A Distributional Analysis of Green Tax Reforms," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(n. 4), pages 655-82, December.
  2. Philippe Quirion, 2004. "Prices versus Quantities in a Second-Best Setting," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 29(3), pages 337-360, November.
  3. Hoel, Michael & Karp, Larry, 2002. "Taxes versus quotas for a stock pollutant," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 367-384, November.
  4. John Pezzey, 1992. "The Symmetry between Controlling Pollution by Price and Controlling It by Quantity," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 25(4), pages 983-91, November.
  5. Newell, Richard G. & Pizer, William A., 2003. "Regulating stock externalities under uncertainty," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 45(2, Supple), pages 416-432, March.
  6. Gilbert Metcalf & David Weisbach, 2008. "The Design of a Carbon Tax," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0727, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  7. Kevin A. Hassett & Gilbert E. Metcalf, 1992. "Energy Tax Credits and Residential Conservation Investment," NBER Working Papers 4020, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 1998. "Welfare, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Labor Supply of Single Mothers," JCPR Working Papers 32, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  9. Ian W. H. Parry & Kenneth A. Small, 2005. "Does Britain or the United States Have the Right Gasoline Tax?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1276-1289, September.
  10. Kevin A. Hassett & Aparna Mathur & Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2007. "The Incidence of a U.S. Carbon Tax: A Lifetime and Regional Analysis," NBER Working Papers 13554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Larry Karp & Jiangfeng Zhang, 2005. "Regulation of Stock Externalities with Correlated Abatement Costs," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 32(2), pages 273-300, October.
  12. 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.
  13. repec:reg:wpaper:142 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Don Fullerton & Gilbert E. Metcalf, 1997. "Environmental Taxes and the Double-Dividend Hypothesis: Did You Really Expect Something for Nothing?," NBER Working Papers 6199, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Hassett, Kevin A. & Metcalf, Gilbert E., 1995. "Energy tax credits and residential conservation investment: Evidence from panel data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 201-217, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Pezzey, John C.V. & Jotzo, Frank, 2010. "Tax-Versus-Trading and Free Emission Shares as Issues for Climate Policy Design," Research Reports 95049, Australian National University, Environmental Economics Research Hub.
  2. Bristow, Abigail L. & Wardman, Mark & Zanni, Alberto M. & Chintakayala, Phani K., 2010. "Public acceptability of personal carbon trading and carbon tax," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(9), pages 1824-1837, July.
  3. Liao, Shu-Yi & Tseng, Wei-Chun & Chen, Chi-Chung, 2010. "Eliciting public preference for nuclear energy against the backdrop of global warming," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 7054-7069, November.
  4. Wojciech Kopczuk & Justin Marion & Erich Muehlegger & Joel Slemrod, 2013. "Do the Laws of Tax Incidence Hold? Point of Collection and the Pass-through of State Diesel Taxes," NBER Working Papers 19410, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Matthias Kalkuhl & Ottmar Edenhofer & Kai Lessmann, 2011. "Renewable Energy Subsidies: Second-Best Policy or Fatal Aberration for Mitigation?," Working Papers 2011.48, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  6. Massimiliano Mazzanti & Antonio Musolesi, 2011. "Income and time related effects in EKC," Working Papers 201105, University of Ferrara, Department of Economics.
  7. Rao, Narasimha D., 2013. "Distributional impacts of climate change mitigation in Indian electricity: The influence of governance," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 1344-1356.
  8. Severin Borenstein, 2011. "The Private and Public Economics of Renewable Electricity Generation," NBER Working Papers 17695, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Parry, Ian W.H., 2011. "Reforming the Tax System to Promote Environmental Objectives: An Application to Mauritius," Discussion Papers dp-11-20, Resources For the Future.
  10. Wang, Tao & Foliente, Greg & Song, Xinyi & Xue, Jiawei & Fang, Dongping, 2014. "Implications and future direction of greenhouse gas emission mitigation policies in the building sector of China," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 520-530.
  11. Galinato, Gregmar I. & Yoder, Jonathan K., 2010. "An integrated tax-subsidy policy for carbon emission reduction," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 310-326, August.
  12. Gonzalez, Fidel, 2012. "Distributional effects of carbon taxes: The case of Mexico," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 2102-2115.
  13. Ian W.H. Parry, 2011. "Reforming the Tax System to Promote Environmental Objectives," IMF Working Papers 11/124, International Monetary Fund.
  14. Ian W.H. Parry & John Norregaard & Dirk Heine, 2012. "Environmental Tax Reform," IMF Working Papers 12/180, International Monetary Fund.
  15. Li, Chiao-Ting & Peng, Huei & Sun, Jing, 2013. "Reducing CO2 emissions on the electric grid through a carbon disincentive policy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 793-802.
  16. Freebairn, John W., 2011. "A Tax Mix Change to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions," 2011 Conference (55th), February 8-11, 2011, Melbourne, Australia 100551, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
  17. 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.
  18. Fullerton, Don & Monti, Holly, 2013. "Can pollution tax rebates protect low-wage earners?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 539-553.

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