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Do the Costs of a Carbon Tax Vanish When Interactions With Other Taxes are Accounted For?

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  • Lawrence H. Goulder
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    Abstract

    Previous analyses of U.S. carbon taxes have tended to ignore interactions between this tax and other, pre-existing U.S. taxes. This paper assesses the effects of the carbon tax using a model that addresses these interactions. The model is unique in integrating a detailed treatment of taxes and attention to nonrenewable resource supply dynamics within a disaggregated general equilibrium framework. We find that the GNP and welfare costs of the carbon tax are significantly lower than what would be predicted if tax interactions were disregarded. When the revenues are used to finance reductions in marginal taxes at the personal or corporate level, the welfare costs are 25-32 percent lower than when the revenues finance lump-sum reductions in taxes. Pre-existing distortions -- specifically, the relatively light taxation of fossil-fuel-producing industries in comparison with other industries -- imply that the gross efficiency costs of carbon taxes are about 15 percent lower than would be the case if fossil-fuel-producing industries were not initially tax-favored.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4061.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4061.

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    Date of creation: May 1992
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4061

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    1. Mussa, Michael, 1978. "Dynamic Adjustment in the Heckscher-Ohlin-Samuelson Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 775-91, October.
    2. John Whalley & Randall Wigle, 1991. "Cutting CO2 Emissions: The Effects of Alternative Policy Approaches," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 109-124.
    3. Lawrence H. Summers, 1981. "Taxation and Corporate Investment: A q-Theory Approach," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(1), pages 67-140.
    4. Lester B. Lave, 1991. "Formulating Greenhouse Policies in a Sea of Uncertainty," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 9-22.
    5. Charles Ballard & John Karl Scholz & John B. Shoven, 1987. "The Value-added Tax: A General Equilibrium Look at Its Efficiency and Incidence," NBER Chapters, in: Taxes and Capital Formation, pages 105-108 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Alan S. Manne & Richard G. Richels, 1990. "CO2 Emission Limits: An Economic Cost Analysis for the USA," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 51-74.
    7. Alan Manne & Richard Richels, 1992. "Buying Greenhouse Insurance: The Economic Costs of CO2 Emission Limits," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026213280x, December.
    8. Lawrance, Emily C, 1991. "Poverty and the Rate of Time Preference: Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 54-77, February.
    9. Jean-Marc Burniaux & John P. Martin & Giuseppe Nicoletti & Joaquim Oliveira Martins, 1991. "GREEN - - A Multi-Region Dynamic General Equilibrium Model for Quantifying the Costs of Curbing CO2 Emissions: A Technical Manual," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 104, OECD Publishing.
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    Cited by:
    1. Gupta, Sanjeev & Mahler, Walter, 1995. "Taxation of petroleum products : Theory and empirical evidence," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 101-116, April.
    2. Alain L. Bernard & Marc Vielle, 1998. "Un exemple d'utilisation : le coût de politiques de réduction des gaz à effet de serre," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 136(5), pages 33-48.
    3. Robert Ayres, 1994. "On economic disequilibrium and free lunch," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 4(5), pages 435-454, October.
    4. Thierry Bréchet, 1999. "Working Paper 05-99 - SPOT : un modèle d'équilibre général appliqué de l’économie belge," Working Papers 9905, Federal Planning Bureau, Belgium.
    5. World Bank, 2011. "Climate Change and Fiscal Policy : A Report for APEC," World Bank Other Operational Studies 2734, The World Bank.
    6. John Pezzey & Andrew Park, 1998. "Reflections on the Double Dividend Debate," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 11(3), pages 539-555, April.
    7. Robert Ayres, 1995. "Thermodynamics and process analysis for future economic scenarios," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 6(3), pages 207-230, October.
    8. Jaeger, William K., 1995. "The welfare cost of a global carbon tax when tax revenues are recycled," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 47-67, May.

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