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How to make a carbon tax reform progressive: The role of subsistence consumption


  • Klenert, David
  • Mattauch, Linus


This letter analyzes the distributional effects of a carbon tax reform when households must consume carbon-intensive goods above a subsistence level. The reform is progressive if revenues are recycled as uniform lump-sum transfers, in other cases it is regressive.

Suggested Citation

  • Klenert, David & Mattauch, Linus, 2016. "How to make a carbon tax reform progressive: The role of subsistence consumption," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 100-103.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:138:y:2016:i:c:p:100-103 DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2015.11.019

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rausch Sebastian & Metcalf Gilbert E. & Reilly John M & Paltsev Sergey, 2010. "Distributional Implications of Alternative U.S. Greenhouse Gas Control Measures," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(2), pages 1-46, July.
    2. Jacobs, Bas & de Mooij, Ruud A., 2015. "Pigou meets Mirrlees: On the irrelevance of tax distortions for the second-best Pigouvian tax," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 90-108.
    3. Chiroleu-Assouline, Mireille & Fodha, Mouez, 2014. "From regressive pollution taxes to progressive environmental tax reforms," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 126-142.
    4. A. Bovenberg, 1999. "Green Tax Reforms and the Double Dividend: an Updated Reader's Guide," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 6(3), pages 421-443, August.
    5. Emmanuel Combet & Frédéric Ghersi & Jean Charles Hourcade & Daniel Théry, 2010. "Carbon Tax and Equity : The Importance of Policy Design," Post-Print halshs-00692516, HAL.
    6. Don Fullerton, 2010. "Six Distributional Effects of Environmental Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 3299, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. By Louis Kaplow, 2012. "Optimal Control Of Externalities In The Presence Of Income Taxation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 53(2), pages 487-509, May.
    8. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz & Ladoux, Norbert, 1998. "Externalities and optimal taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 343-364, December.
    9. Rausch, Sebastian & Metcalf, Gilbert E. & Reilly, John M., 2011. "Distributional impacts of carbon pricing: A general equilibrium approach with micro-data for households," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(S1), pages 20-33.
    10. Mette Wier & Manfred Lenzen & Jesper Munksgaard & Sinne Smed, 2001. "Effects of Household Consumption Patterns on CO2 Requirements," Economic Systems Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(3), pages 259-274.
    11. Corbett Grainger & Charles Kolstad, 2010. "Who Pays a Price on Carbon?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 46(3), pages 359-376, July.
    12. Dissou, Yazid & Siddiqui, Muhammad Shahid, 2014. "Can carbon taxes be progressive?," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 88-100.
    13. 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.
    14. Mireille Chiroleu-Assouline & Mouez Fodha, 2011. "Environmental Tax and the Distribution of Income among Heterogeneous Workers," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 103-104, pages 71-92.
    15. Tietenberg, T H, 1990. "Economic Instruments for Environmental Regulation," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 17-33, Spring.
    16. 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.
    17. repec:adr:anecst:y:2011:i:103-104:p:05 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Florens Flues & Alastair Thomas, 2015. "The distributional effects of energy taxes," OECD Taxation Working Papers 23, OECD Publishing.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bas (B.) Jacobs & Rick (F.) van der Ploeg, 2017. "Should Pollution Taxes Be Targeted At Income Redistribution?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-070/VI, Tinbergen Institute.
    2. repec:eee:ecolec:v:142:y:2017:i:c:p:31-45 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Diane Aubert & Mireille Chiroleu-Assouline, 2017. "Environmental Tax Reform and Income Distribution with Imperfect Heterogeneous Labor Markets," PSE Working Papers halshs-01550000, HAL.
    4. Klenert, David & Mattauch, Linus & Combet, Emmanuel & Edenhofer, Ottmar & Hepburn, Cameron & Rafaty, Ryan & Stern, Nicholas, 2017. "Making Carbon Pricing Work," MPRA Paper 80943, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Wang, Qian & Hubacek, Klaus & Feng, Kuishuang & Wei, Yi-Ming & Liang, Qiao-Mei, 2016. "Distributional effects of carbon taxation," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 184(C), pages 1123-1131.

    More about this item


    Carbon tax reform; Distribution; Revenue recycling; Inequality; Non-homothetic preferences;

    JEL classification:

    • D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General
    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies


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