Household incidence of pollution control policies: A robust welfare analysis using general equilibrium effects
This study assesses the incidence of pollution control policies on households. In contrast to previous studies, we employ an integrated framework combining a multisector general equilibrium model with a stochastic dominance analysis using household-level data. We consider three policy instruments in a domestic emission trading system: (i) an output-based allocation (OBA) of permits; (ii) the use of the proceeds of permit sales to reduce payroll taxes (RPT); (iii) and the use of these proceeds to reduce consumption taxes instead (UCS). The general equilibrium results suggest that the return to capital is more negatively affected than the wage rate in all simulations, since polluting industries are capital intensive. Abstracting from pollution externalities, the dominance analysis suggests that all three policies have a normatively robust negative (positive) impact on welfare (poverty). Formal dominance tests indicate that RPT first-order welfare dominates OBA over all values of household incomes. UCS also first-order poverty dominates RPT for any choice of poverty line below $CAN 18,600, and poverty dominates for any poverty line (and thus welfare dominates) at the second order. Finally, while the three pollution control policies do not have a numerically large impact on inequality (in comparison to the base run), statistical tests indicate that inequality increases significantly more with OBA and RPT than with UCS.
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