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Revenue Recycling and the Welfare Effects of Road Pricing

  • Parry, Ian W H
  • Bento, Antonio

This paper explores the interactions between taxes on work-related traffic congestion and pre-existing distortionary taxes in the labor market. A congestion tax raises the overall costs of commuting to work and discourages labor force participation. The resulting welfare loss in the labor market can easily exceed the Pigouvian welfare gain from internalizing the congestion externality. However, if congestion tax revenues are used to reduce labor taxes, the net impact on labor supply is positive, and this can raise the overall welfare gain from the congestion tax by around 100 percent. Nonetheless the optimal congestion tax still equals the Pigouvian tax. Copyright 2001 by The editors of the Scandinavian Journal of Economics.

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Scandinavian Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 103 (2001)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 645-71

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Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:103:y:2001:i:4:p:645-71
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  1. Anas, Alex & Arnott, Richard & Small, Kenneth A., 1997. "Urban Spatial Structure," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt835049q3, University of California Transportation Center.
  2. Martin Feldstein, 1999. "Tax Avoidance And The Deadweight Loss Of The Income Tax," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(4), pages 674-680, November.
  3. Liu, Louie Nan & McDonald, John F., 1998. "Efficient Congestion Tolls in the Presence of Unpriced Congestion: A Peak and Off-Peak Simulation Model," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 352-366, November.
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  5. Verhoef, Erik & Nijkamp, Peter & Rietveld, Piet, 1996. "Second-Best Congestion Pricing: The Case of an Untolled Alternative," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 279-302, November.
  6. Browning, Edgar K., 1994. "The non-tax wedge," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 419-433, March.
  7. 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.
  8. Newbery, David M, 1988. "Road Damage Externalities and Road User Charges," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 295-316, March.
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  10. Kraus, Marvin & Mohring, Herbert & Pinfold, Thomas P, 1976. "The Welfare Costs of Nonoptimum Pricing and Investment Policies for Freeway Transportation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(4), pages 532-47, September.
  11. Roberton C. Williams, 2000. "Environmental Tax Interactions When Pollution Affects Health or Productivity," NBER Working Papers 8049, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Snow, Arthur & Warren, Ronald Jr., 1996. "The marginal welfare cost of public funds: Theory and estimates," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 289-305, August.
  13. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Supply-Side Economics: An Analytical Review," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 293-316, April.
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  15. Victor R. Fuchs & Alan B. Krueger & James M. Poterba, 1998. "Economists' Views about Parameters, Values, and Policies: Survey Results in Labor and Public Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1387-1425, September.
  16. Parry, Ian & Bento, Antonio, 1999. "Tax Deductible Spending, Environmental Policy, and the "Double Dividend" Hypothesis," Discussion Papers dp-99-24, Resources For the Future.
  17. Browning, Edgar K, 1987. "On the Marginal Welfare Cost of Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 11-23, March.
  18. Newbery, David M, 1990. "Pricing and Congestion: Economic Principles Relevant to Pricing Roads," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 22-38, Summer.
  19. Glaister, Stephen & Lewis, Davis, 1978. "An integrated fares policy for transport in London," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 341-355, June.
  20. Krupnick, Alan & Harrington, Winston & Alberini, Anna, 1998. "Overcoming Public Aversion to Congestion Pricing," Discussion Papers dp-98-27, Resources For the Future.
  21. Braid, Ralph M., 1996. "Peak-Load Pricing of a Transportation Route with an Unpriced Substitute," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 179-197, September.
  22. Mohring, Herbert, 1970. "The Peak Load Problem with Increasing Returns and Pricing Constraints," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(4), pages 693-705, September.
  23. Lawrence H. Goulder & Ian W. H. Parry & Dallas Burtraw, 1996. "Revenue-Raising vs. Other Approaches to Environmental Protection: The Critical Significance of Pre-Existing Tax Distortions," NBER Working Papers 5641, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Hau, Timothy D., 1992. "Economic fundamentals of road pricing : a diagrammatic analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1070, The World Bank.
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  26. Mayeres, Inge & Proost, Stef, 1997. " Optimal Tax and Public Investment Rules for Congestion Type of Externalities," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 99(2), pages 261-79, June.
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