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Environmental taxation and municipal fiscal federalism: remarks and perspectives on the Italian case study

Listed author(s):
  • Andrea Zatti
  • Fiorenza Carraro

The debate around green fiscal reform has been going on for more than 20 years in Europe. However, to this day the focus has been mainly (or almost completely) concentrated on national fiscal systems, while the local dimension has been largely ignored. Environmental taxes, or at least some of them - final energy consumption taxes, car registration and circulation taxes, construction fees, park and road pricing, charges on tourism, land use and occupation fees - are strongly interrelated to the territorial context and, accordingly, can represent a promising tool to make citizens and city users pay for the services they benefit from or for the external effects they generate. From a multilevel governance perspective, whenever a process of fiscal decentralisation is going on or planned, major attention can be directed to the opportunity to fill in the fiscal gap, at least to some extent, through a major recourse to environmentally related taxes. The expected results (dividends) would not just be in terms of a less distortionary fiscal system, but also of a more transparent and accountable model of financing for local expenditures and functions. The paper provides a preliminary assessment on this subject, focusing mainly on the Italian experience. The categorization of environmental taxes and their quantitative analysis show how no specific attention has currently been given to the local dimension and how major research efforts still have to be done to better investigate their potential role in the context of decentralisation processes.

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Article provided by FrancoAngeli Editore in its journal ECONOMICS AND POLICY OF ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT.

Volume (Year): 2013/2 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 61-92

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Handle: RePEc:fan:efeefe:v:html10.3280/efe2013-002005
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  1. J. Peter Clinch & Eoin O'Neill, 2010. "Designing Development Planning Charges: Settlement Patterns, Cost Recovery and Public Facilities," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 47(10), pages 2149-2171, September.
  2. Henrik Klinge Jacobsen & Katja Birr-Pedersen & Mette Wier, 2003. "Distributional Implications of Environmental Taxation in Denmark," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 24(4), pages 477-499, December.
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  7. Richard M. Bird, 2008. "Tax Assignment Revisited," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0805, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
  8. Wallace E. Oates, 1999. "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1120-1149, September.
  9. Alberto Majocchi, 1996. "Green fiscal reform and employment: A survey," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 8(4), pages 375-397, December.
  10. Weingast, Barry R., 2009. "Second generation fiscal federalism: The implications of fiscal incentives," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 279-293, May.
  11. Ekins, Paul, 1999. "European environmental taxes and charges: recent experience, issues and trends," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 39-62, October.
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