Can carbon taxes be progressive?
Most studies have assessed the distributional impact of carbon taxes through their effects on commodity prices alone, while ignoring their impact on individual welfare brought about by changes in factor prices. Yet, the remunerations of capital and labor are not affected by these taxes similarly, and their shares in earned incomes are not uniform across households. This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the incidence of carbon taxes on inequality by considering simultaneously the commodity and the income channels. We propose a decomposition of the change in individual welfare metrics. Then, we develop a general equilibrium model to assess the impact of carbon taxes on factor and commodity prices, and subsequently their distributional impact on households, using the Lorenz and concentration curves and the Gini index. Our results suggest that changes in factor prices and changes in commodity prices (especially those of energy commodities) have opposing effects on inequality. Carbon taxes tend to reduce inequality through the changes in factor prices and tend to increase inequality through the changes in commodity prices. Hence, we find a non-monotonic (U-shaped) relationship between carbon taxes and inequality. Our results suggest that the traditional approach of assessing the impact of carbon taxes on inequality through changes in commodity prices alone may be misleading. The findings cast light on the desirability of using both channels in the assessment of carbon taxes on inequality.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Gilbert E. Metcalf & Aparna Mathur & Kevin A. Hassett, 2011.
"Distributional Impacts in a Comprehensive Climate Policy Package,"
NBER Chapters,in: The Design and Implementation of U.S. Climate Policy, pages 21-34
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Kevin A. Hassett & Aparna Mathur & Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2010. "Distributional Impacts in a Comprehensive Climate Policy Package," AEI Economics Working Papers 47669, American Enterprise Institute.
- Gilbert E. Metcalf & Aparna Mathur & Kevin A. Hassett, 2010. "Distributional Impacts in a Comprehensive Climate Policy Package," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0752, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
- Gilbert E. Metcalf & Aparna Mathur & Kevin A. Hassett, 2010. "Distributional Impacts in a Comprehensive Climate Policy Package," NBER Working Papers 16101, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Burtraw, Dallas & Sweeney, Richard & Walls, Margaret, 2009. "The Incidence of U.S. Climate Policy: Alternative Uses of Revenues From a Cap-and-Trade Auction," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 62(3), pages 497-518, September.
- Burtraw, Dallas & Sweeney, Richard & Walls, Margaret, 2009. "The Incidence of U.S. Climate Policy: Alternative Uses of Revenues from a Cap-and-Trade Auction," Discussion Papers dp-09-17-rev, Resources For the Future.
- Araar, Abdelkrim & Dissou, Yazid & Duclos, Jean-Yves, 2011. "Household incidence of pollution control policies: A robust welfare analysis using general equilibrium effects," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 227-243, March.
- Abdelkrim Araar & Yazid Dissou & Jean-Yves Duclos, 2008. "Household Incidence of Pollution Control Policies: A Robust Welfare Analysis Using General Equilibrium Effects," Working Papers 0805E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
- Abdelkrim Araar & Yazid Dissou & Jean-Yves Duclos, 2008. "Household Incidence of Pollution Control Policies: a Robust Welfare Analysis Using General Equilibrium Effects," Cahiers de recherche 0809, CIRPEE.
- Antonio M. Bento & Lawrence H. Goulder & Mark R. Jacobsen & Roger H. von Haefen, 2009. "Distributional and Efficiency Impacts of Increased US Gasoline Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(3), pages 667-699, June.
- Bento, Antonio M. & Goulder, Lawrence H. & Jacobsen, Mark R. & von Haefen, Roger H., 2007. "Distributional and Efficiency Impacts of Increased U.S. Gasoline Taxes," Working Papers 127021, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
- Kakwani, Nanok C, 1977. "Measurement of Tax Progressivity: An International Comparison," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 87(345), pages 71-80, March.
- Hettige, Hemamala & Lucas, Robert E B & Wheeler, David, 1992. "The Toxic Intensity of Industrial Production: Global Patterns, Trends, and Trade Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 478-481, May.
- Fullerton, Don & Heutel, Garth, 2007. "The general equilibrium incidence of environmental taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 571-591, April.
- Don Fullerton & Garth Heutel, 2005. "The General Equilibrium Incidence of Environmental Taxes," NBER Working Papers 11311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Kirk Hamilton & Grant Cameron, 1994. "Simulating the Distributional Effects of a Canadian Carbon Tax," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 20(4), pages 385-399, December.
- Dubin, Jeffrey A. & Henson, Steven E., 1988. "The distributional effects of the Federal Energy Tax Act," Resources and Energy, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 191-212, September.
- King, Mervyn A., 1983. "Welfare analysis of tax reforms using household data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 183-214, July.
- Anthony Shorrocks, 2004. "Inequality and welfare evaluation of heterogeneous income distributions," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 2(3), pages 193-218, July.
- Kerkhof, Annemarie C. & Moll, Henri C. & Drissen, Eric & Wilting, Harry C., 2008. "Taxation of multiple greenhouse gases and the effects on income distribution: A case study of the Netherlands," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 318-326, September.
- Christoph Böhringer & Thomas F. Rutherford, 2010. "The Costs of Compliance: A CGE Assessment of Canada's Policy Options under the Kyoto Protocol," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(2), pages 177-211, 02.
- Shorrocks, Anthony, 2004. "Inequality and Welfare Evaluation of Heterogeneous Income Distributions," WIDER Working Paper Series 001, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
- Wier, Mette & Birr-Pedersen, Katja & Jacobsen, Henrik Klinge & Klok, Jacob, 2005. "Are CO2 taxes regressive? Evidence from the Danish experience," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 239-251, January.
- Shammin, Md Rumi & Bullard, Clark W., 2009. "Impact of cap-and-trade policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions on U.S. households," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(8-9), pages 2432-2438, June.
- Dinan, Terry & Rogers, Diane Lim, 2002. "Distributional Effects of Carbon AllowanceTrading: How Government Decisions Determine Winners and Losers," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 55(N. 2), pages 199-221, June.
- Robison, H David, 1985. "Who Pays for Industrial Pollution Abatement?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(4), pages 702-706, November.
- Mussa, Michael, 1979. "The two-sector model in terms of its dual : A geometric exposition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 513-526, November. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)