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Hard coal subsidies: A never-ending story?

  • Frondel, Manuel
  • Kambeck, Rainer
  • Schmidt, Christoph M.

In Germany, hard coal has been subsidized for almost half a century. Despite the declining significance of hard coal production for the domestic labor market, the magnitude of subsidies increased until the middle of the last decade. In 1996, they peaked at € 6.7 bill.While German hard coal subsidies have been shrinking to € 2.7 bill. in 2005, it is very likely that they will be extended well into the next decade and even beyond. This article discusses the feeble arguments raised by the proponents of hard coal subsidization in Germany and other EU countries. Most importantly, in addition to the drain imposed on public budgets, these subsidies imply a substantial opportunity cost, leading funds away from alternative, more beneficial public investments. From a social welfare perspective, we therefore recommend the rapid abolition of these subsidies not only in Germany, where in nominal terms the accumulated amount of subsidies has now by far exceeded € 130 bill., but all across Europe.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Policy.

Volume (Year): 35 (2007)
Issue (Month): 7 (July)
Pages: 3807-3814

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Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:35:y:2007:i:7:p:3807-3814
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/enpol

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  1. Jochen Kluve & Lena Jacobi, 2006. "Before and After the Hartz Reforms: The Performance of Active Labour Market Policy in Germany," RWI Discussion Papers 0041, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung.
  2. Frondel, Manuel & Peters, Jorg, 2007. "Biodiesel: A new Oildorado?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 1675-1684, March.
  3. Ullrich Heilemann & Bernhard Hillebrand, 1992. "The German Coal Market After 1992," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3).
  4. Frondel, Manuel & Schmidt, Christoph M., 2001. "Evaluating environmental programs: the perspective of modern evaluation research," ZEW Discussion Papers 01-59, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  5. Welsch, Heinz, 1998. "Coal subsidization and nuclear phase-out in a general equilibrium model for Germany," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 203-222, April.
  6. Radetzki, Marian, 1995. "Elimination of West European coal subsidies : Implications for coal production and coal imports," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 509-518, June.
  7. Anderson, Kym, 1995. "The political economy of coal subsidies in Europe," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 485-496, June.
  8. Steenblik, Ronald P & Coroyannakis, Panos, 1995. "Reform of coal policies in Western and Central Europe : Implications for the environment," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 537-553, June.
  9. Kluve, Jochen, 2006. "The Effectiveness of European Active Labor Market Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 2018, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Storchmann, Karl, 2005. "The rise and fall of German hard coal subsidies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(11), pages 1469-1492, July.
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