IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/pubeco/v87y2003i2p313-322.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Environmental levies and distortionary taxation:: Pigou, taxation and pollution

Author

Listed:
  • Metcalf, Gilbert E.

Abstract

Bovenberg and de Mooij (1994) showed that, in the presence of preexisting distorting taxes, the optimal pollution tax typically lies below social marginal damages. Many have viewed this result as a refutation of the so-called double dividend hypothesis,' which suggests that a tax on pollution can both improve the environment and reduce distortions in the tax system. Bovenberg and de Mooij's paper triggered a large literature on optimal environmental tax rates in a second-best world. In this note, I argue that the emphasis on tax rates is misguided. Using an analytical general equilibrium model, I show that for reasonable parameter values, an increase in tax distortions (arising from an increase in required tax revenues) leads to a fall in the optimal Pigouvian tax rate even while environmental quality improves. In general, knowledge of the direction of changes in optimal environmental tax rates due to changes in the economy is not sufficient for understanding the impact on environmental quality.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Metcalf, Gilbert E., 2003. "Environmental levies and distortionary taxation:: Pigou, taxation and pollution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 313-322, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:87:y:2003:i:2:p:313-322
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0047-2727(01)00116-5
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bovenberg, A. L. & van der Ploeg, F., 1994. "Environmental policy, public finance and the labour market in a second-best world," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 349-390, November.
    2. Gaube, Thomas, 1998. "Distortionary Taxes Preserve the Environment," Discussion Paper Serie A 579, University of Bonn, Germany.
    3. Fullerton, Don & Metcalf, Gilbert E., 2001. "Environmental controls, scarcity rents, and pre-existing distortions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 249-267, May.
    4. de Bovenberg, A Lans & Mooij, Ruud A, 1994. "Environmental Levies and Distortionary Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 1085-1089, September.
    5. Fullerton, Don, 1997. "Environmental Levies and Distortionary Taxes: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 245-251, March.
    6. Arnold C. Harberger, 1962. "The Incidence of the Corporation Income Tax," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 215-215.
    7. Don Fullerton & Inkee Hong & Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2001. "A Tax on Output of the Polluting Industry Is Not a Tax on Pollution: The Importance of Hitting the Target," NBER Chapters,in: Behavioral and Distributional Effects of Environmental Policy, pages 13-44 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Bovenberg, A Lans & de Mooij, Ruud A, 1997. "Environmental Levies and Distortionary Taxation: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 252-253, March.
    9. Lee, Dwight R. & Misiolek, Walter S., 1986. "Substituting pollution taxation for general taxation: Some implications for efficiency in pollutions taxation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 338-347, December.
    10. A. B. Atkinson & N. H. Stern, 1974. "Pigou, Taxation and Public Goods," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(1), pages 119-128.
    11. Lawrence H. Goulder & Roberton C. Williams III, 1999. "The Usual Excess-Burden Approximation Usually Doesn't Come Close," NBER Working Papers 7034, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Ronnie Schöb, 1997. "Environmental Taxes and Pre-Existing Distortions: The Normalization Trap," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 4(2), pages 167-176, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Ian W. H. Parry & Kenneth A. Small, 2005. "Does Britain or the United States Have the Right Gasoline Tax?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1276-1289, September.
    2. Saveyn, Bert & Van Regemorter, Denise & Ciscar, Juan Carlos, 2011. "Economic analysis of the climate pledges of the Copenhagen Accord for the EU and other major countries," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(S1), pages 34-40.
    3. Goel, Rajeev K. & Hsieh, Edward W.T., 2006. "On coordinating environmental policy and technology policy," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 28(8), pages 897-908, November.
    4. Bovenberg, A. Lans & Goulder, Lawrence H., 2002. "Environmental taxation and regulation," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 23, pages 1471-1545 Elsevier.
    5. Heutel, Garth, 2011. "Plant vintages, grandfathering, and environmental policy," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 36-51, January.
    6. Sandmo, Agnar, 2011. "Atmospheric externalities and environmental taxation," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(S1), pages 4-12.
    7. Gonzalez, Fidel, 2012. "Distributional effects of carbon taxes: The case of Mexico," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 2102-2115.
    8. Ronnie Schöb, 2003. "The Double Dividend Hypothesis of Environmental Taxes: A Survey," CESifo Working Paper Series 946, CESifo Group Munich.
    9. Thomas Gaube, 2005. "Second-Best Pollution Taxation and Environmental Quality," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2005_9, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    10. Kurtyka, Oliwia & Mahenc, Philippe, 2011. "The switching effect of environmental taxation within Bertrand differentiated duopoly," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 267-277, September.
    11. Hoel, Michael, 2008. "Environmental Taxes in an Economy with Distorting Taxes and a Heterogeneous Population," Memorandum 04/2008, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    12. Taheripour, Farzad & Khanna, Madhu & Nelson, Charles, 2005. "Welfare Impacts of Alternative Public Policies for Environmental Protection in Agriculture in an Open Economy: A General Equilibrium Framework," 2005 Annual meeting, July 24-27, Providence, RI 19317, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    13. Lynne Pepall & Daniel Richards, 2000. "Merger Wars: Bidding for Complementary Assets," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0020, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    14. Fullerton, Don & Kim, Seung-Rae, 2008. "Environmental investment and policy with distortionary taxes, and endogenous growth," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 141-154, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:87:y:2003:i:2:p:313-322. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578 .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.