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Die Ökologische Steuerreform in Deutschland - ein umweltpolitisches Feigenblatt


  • Christoph Böhringer
  • Robert Schwager


We assess the design of the recent environmental tax reform in Germany. Based on fundamental welfare economics we argue that extensive tax reductions and rebates in favour of energy-intensive industries, as provided by the tax reform, substantially water down its cost-effectiveness. The environmental tax reform essentially boils down to a fiscally motivated fuel tax. From a political economy perspective the exemptions can be explained by voters' low willingness-to-pay for the environment and the sectoral concentration of adjustment costs. With respect to green voters, however, the government does not admit that the environmental objective has effectively been abandoned. We conclude that an honest policy should either give up the environmental tax reform frankly or implement it without exemptions. Copyright Verein für Socialpolitik und Blackwell Publishers Ltd, 2002

Suggested Citation

  • Christoph Böhringer & Robert Schwager, 2003. "Die Ökologische Steuerreform in Deutschland - ein umweltpolitisches Feigenblatt," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 4(2), pages 211-222, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:perwir:v:4:y:2003:i:2:p:211-222

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lange, Andreas & Vogt, Carsten, 2003. "Cooperation in international environmental negotiations due to a preference for equity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 2049-2067, September.
    2. Stefan Bach, 1997. "Steuerreform in Deutschland," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 66(3/4), pages 291-316.
    3. Lawrence Goulder, 1995. "Environmental taxation and the double dividend: A reader's guide," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 2(2), pages 157-183, August.
    4. Bohringer, Christoph & Rutherford, Thomas F., 1997. "Carbon Taxes with Exemptions in an Open Economy: A General Equilibrium Analysis of the German Tax Initiative," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 189-203, February.
    5. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Böcher, Michael, 2012. "A theoretical framework for explaining the choice of instruments in environmental policy," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(C), pages 14-22.

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