Pollution Taxes in a Second-Best World
The purpose of this paper is to analyse recent issues involved in setting environmental taxes in a second-best world. This is an area that has seen an explosion of research and new insights over the past decade and also an area with which many EU countries (as well as candidate EU countries) have been grappling. The basic message of this paper is that the policy prescriptions that most of us learned when studying environmental policy in isolation (that is, in partial equilibrium) often must be significantly adapted once one moves to a general equilibrium framework with pre-existing distortions. Put this way, there is nothing novel here; it is simply a restatement of the Theorem of the Second Best (Lipsey and Lancaster (1956-1957)). This, however, risks trivializing the literature of the past decade. More important, the new literature has clarified our understanding of environmental distortions and policy making in important ways and opened up whole new areas of analysis.
Volume (Year): 4 (2003)
Issue (Month): 1 (December)
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