The incidence of fuel taxation in India
Fuel taxes have returned to centre stage as a potential policy instrument for greenhouse gas abatement. On the basis of some studies in developed countries, critics have complained that a fuel tax would be regressive. This paper uses data from a representative household survey covering more than 124 thousand Indian households to examine this claim. It finds that a fuel tax would be progressive as would a carbon tax. Using an input-output approach, it is found that the progressivity results holds good even when one considers indirect consumption of fuel through its use as an intermediate input. Sensitivity checks allowing for differing price elasticities of demand between rich and poor confirm this result for most of fuels. A tax on kerosene is the only fuel tax that is regressive in all situations.
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