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Tax Policy to Reduce Carbon Emissions in a Distorted Economy: Illustrations from a South Africa CGE Model

Author

Listed:
  • Devarajan Shantayanan

    () (World Bank)

  • Go Delfin S

    () (World Bank)

  • Robinson Sherman

    () (Institute of Development Studies and International Food Policy Research Institute)

  • Thierfelder Karen

    () (United States Naval Academy)

Abstract

Noting that developing countries may not have the administrative capacity to levy a “pure” carbon tax, we compare the impact of alternative energy taxes with that of a carbon tax in an economy with multiple distortions. We use a disaggregated computable general equilibrium (CGE) model of the South African economy and simulate a range of tax policies that reduce CO2 emissions by 15 percent. Consistent with a “first-best” economy, a carbon tax will have the lowest marginal cost of abatement. But the relationship between a tax on energy commodities and one on pollution-intensive commodities depends critically on other distortions in the system and on structural rigidities in the economy. We demonstrate that if South Africa were able to remove distortions in the labor market, the cost of carbon taxation would be negligible. We conclude that the welfare costs of taxing carbon emissions in developing countries depend more on other distortions than on the country’s own carbon emissions.

Suggested Citation

  • Devarajan Shantayanan & Go Delfin S & Robinson Sherman & Thierfelder Karen, 2011. "Tax Policy to Reduce Carbon Emissions in a Distorted Economy: Illustrations from a South Africa CGE Model," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-24, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:11:y:2011:i:1:n:13
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Wesseh, Presley K. & Lin, Boqiang, 2016. "Modeling environmental policy with and without abatement substitution: A tradeoff between economics and environment?," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 34-43.
    2. Alberto Gago & Xavier Labandeira & Xiral López Otero, 2014. "A Panorama on Energy Taxes and Green Tax Reforms," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 208(1), pages 145-190, March.
    3. World Bank, 2011. "South Africa Economic Update, November 2011," World Bank Other Operational Studies 26854, The World Bank.
    4. Ahmed,Syud Amer & Baris,Enis & Go,Delfin Sia & Lofgren,Hans & Osorio-Rodarte,Israel & Thierfelder,Karen E. & Ahmed,Syud Amer & Baris,Enis & Go,Delfin Sia & Lofgren,Hans & Osorio-Rodarte,Israel & Thier, 2017. "Assessing the global economic and poverty effects of antimicrobial resistance," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8133, The World Bank.
    5. Samuel Meng, 2015. "Is the agricultural industry spared from the influence of the Australian carbon tax?," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 46(1), pages 125-137, January.
    6. repec:eee:jpolmo:v:40:y:2018:i:1:p:194-223 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:eee:eneeco:v:69:y:2018:i:c:p:213-224 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Chen, Anping & Groenewold, Nicolaas, 2015. "Emission reduction policy: A regional economic analysis for China," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 136-152.
    9. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:2:p:501-:d:131774 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Alton, Theresa & Arndt, Channing & Davies, Rob & Hartley, Faaiqa & Makrelov, Konstantin & Thurlow, James & Ubogu, Dumebi, 2014. "Introducing carbon taxes in South Africa," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 344-354.
    11. Sam Meng & Mahinda Siriwardana & Judith McNeill, 2013. "The Environmental and Economic Impact of the Carbon Tax in Australia," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 54(3), pages 313-332, March.
    12. Orlov Anton & Grethe Harald, 2014. "Introducing Carbon Taxes in Russia: The Relevance of Tax-Interaction Effects," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 14(3), pages 1-32, July.
    13. Wesseh, Presley K. & Lin, Boqiang & Atsagli, Philip, 2017. "Carbon taxes, industrial production, welfare and the environment," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 305-313.
    14. Alton, Theresa & Arndt, Channing & Davies, Rob & Hartley, Faaiqa & Makrelov, Konstantin & Thurlow, James & Ubogu, Dumebi, 2012. "The Economic Implications of Introducing Carbon Taxes in South Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series 046, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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