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The Incidence of U.S. Climate Policy: Alternative Uses of Revenues from a Cap-and-Trade Auction

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  • Burtraw, Dallas

    ()
    (Resources for the Future)

  • Sweeney, Richard

    ()
    (Resources for the Future)

  • Walls, Margaret

    ()
    (Resources for the Future)

Abstract

This paper evaluates the costs to households of a carbon dioxide (CO2) cap-and-trade program. We find important variation in the distribution of costs of the policy across 11 regions of the country and income deciles. The introduction of a price on CO2 is regressive, but this may be outweighed by the distribution value of CO2 emissions allowances. We evaluate five alternatives: three are progressive (expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit and cap-and-dividend approaches), while the others are neutral (reduction in payroll tax) or amplify the regressivity (reduction in income tax). Regional differences are most substantial for low-income households.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-09-17-rev.

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Date of creation: 09 Apr 2009
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-09-17-rev

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Keywords: cap-and-trade; allocation; distributional effects; cost burden; equity;

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References

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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. Suits, Daniel B, 1977. "Measurement of Tax Progressivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(4), pages 747-52, September.
  3. Parry, Ian & Walls, Margaret & Sigman, Hilary & Williams III, Roberton, 2005. "The Incidence of Pollution Control Policies," Discussion Papers dp-05-24, Resources For the Future.
  4. Parry, Ian W. H. & Williams, Roberton III & Goulder, Lawrence H., 1999. "When Can Carbon Abatement Policies Increase Welfare? The Fundamental Role of Distorted Factor Markets," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 52-84, January.
  5. Lawrence H. Goulder & Ian W. H. Parry & Roberton C. Williams III & Dallas Burtraw, 1998. "The Cost-Effectiveness of Alternative Instruments for Environmental Protection in a Second-Best Setting," NBER Working Papers 6464, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Nicholas Bull & Kevin A. Hassett & Gilbert E. Metcalf, 1993. "Who pays broad-based energy taxes? Computing lifetime and regional incidence," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 142, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Gilbert E. Metcalf & Sergey Paltsev & John Reilly & Henry Jacoby & Jennifer F. Holak, 2008. "Analysis of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Tax Proposals," NBER Working Papers 13980, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Bovenberg, A.L. & Goulder, L.H., 1996. "Optimal environmental taxation in the presence of other taxes: General equilibrium analyses," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-73560, Tilburg University.
  9. Parry, Ian W. H., 2004. "Are emissions permits regressive?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 364-387, March.
  10. Lyon, Andrew B & Schwab, Robert M, 1995. "Consumption Taxes in a Life-Cycle Framework: Are Sin Taxes Regressive?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(3), pages 389-406, August.
  11. Shammin, Md Rumi & Bullard, Clark W., 2009. "Impact of cap-and-trade policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions on U.S. households," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(8-9), pages 2432-2438, June.
  12. Sergey Paltsev & John M. Reilly & Henry D. Jacoby & Angelo C. Gurgel & Gilbert E. Metcalf & Andrei P. Sokolov & Jennifer F. Holak, 2007. "Assessment of U.S. Cap-and-Trade Proposals," NBER Working Papers 13176, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2009. "Designing a Carbon Tax to Reduce U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 3(1), pages 63-83, Winter.
  14. Paul, Anthony & Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen, 2008. "Compensation for Electricity Consumers Under a U.S. CO2 Emissions Cap," Discussion Papers dp-08-25, Resources For the Future.
  15. 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.
  16. Dallas Burtraw & Karen Palmer, 2008. "Compensation rules for climate policy in the electricity sector," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(4), pages 819-847.
  17. de Bovenberg, A Lans & Mooij, Ruud A, 1994. "Environmental Levies and Distortionary Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 1085-89, September.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Cludius, Johanna & Beznoska, Martin & Steiner, Viktor, 2012. "Distributional effects of the European Emissions Trading System and the role of revenue recycling: Empirical evidence from combined industry- and household-level data," Discussion Papers 2012/6, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  2. 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.
  3. Martin Beznoska & Johanna Cludius & Viktor Steiner, 2012. "The Incidence of the European Union Emissions Trading System and the Role of Revenue Recycling: Empirical Evidence from Combined Industry- and Household-Level Data," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1227, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  4. Parry, Ian W.H. & Williams, Roberton C. III, 2010. "What Are the Costs of Meeting Distributional Objectives in Designing Domestic Climate Policy?," Discussion Papers dp-10-51, Resources For the Future.
  5. Kalkuhl, Matthias & Edenhofer, Ottmar & Lessmann, Kai, 2013. "Renewable energy subsidies: Second-best policy or fatal aberration for mitigation?," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 217-234.
  6. Last Name, First Name, 2009. "Distributional Impacts of Carbon Pricing Policies in the Electricity Sector," Discussion Papers dp-09-43, Resources For the Future.
  7. Blonz, Joshua & Burtraw, Dallas & Walls, Margaret A., 2010. "Climate Policy’s Uncertain Outcomes for Households: The Role of Complex Allocation Schemes in Cap and Trade," Discussion Papers dp-10-12, Resources For the Future.
  8. Gonzalez, Fidel, 2012. "Distributional effects of carbon taxes: The case of Mexico," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 2102-2115.
  9. Dallas Burtraw & Art Fraas & Nathan Richardson, 2011. "Policy Monitor--Greenhouse Gas Regulation under the Clean Air Act: A Guide for Economists," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 5(2), pages 293-313, Summer.
  10. Parry Ian W. H. & Williams Roberton C., 2010. "What are the Costs of Meeting Distributional Objectives for Climate Policy?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(2), pages 1-35, December.
  11. Dissou, Yazid & Siddiqui, Muhammad Shahid, 2014. "Can carbon taxes be progressive?," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 88-100.
  12. Don Fullerton & Garth Heutel & Gilbert Metcalf, 2011. "Does the Indexing of Government Transfers Make Carbon Pricing Progressive?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3315, CESifo Group Munich.
  13. Dallas Burtraw & Samantha Sekar, 2014. "Two world views on carbon revenues," Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 110-120, March.
  14. Burtraw, Dallas & Sekar, Samantha, 2013. "Two World Views on Carbon Revenues," Discussion Papers dp-13-32, Resources For the Future.
  15. Epanchin-Niell, Rebecca S. & Wilen, James E., 2011. "Optimal Control of Spatial-Dynamic Processes: The Case of Biological Invasions," Discussion Papers dp-11-07, Resources For the Future.
  16. Trevor Houser, 2009. "The Economics of Energy Efficiency in Buildings," Policy Briefs PB09-17, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  17. Burtraw, Dallas & Fraas, Arthur G. & Richardson, Nathan, 2011. "Greenhouse Gas Regulation under the Clean Air Act: A Guide for Economists," Discussion Papers dp-11-08, Resources For the Future.

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