Optimal Design of Forest Taxation with Multiple-Use Characteristics of Forest Stands
The paper studies optimal forest taxation under uncertainty about future timber price when private forest owners value amenity services of forest stands and forest stands have public goods characteristics. It is assumed that preferences of forest owners can be described by a quasi-linear, intertemporal utility function which reflects risk aversion in terms of consumption and constant marginal utility in terms of amenity services. The comparative statics of current and future harvesting in terms of timber price risk, site productivity tax and yield tax are first developed. It is shown that, given the optimal site productivity tax, which is independent of the timber harvested and thus non-distortionary, it is desirable to introduce the yield tax at the margin; it both corrects externality due to the public goods characteristic of forest stands and serves as a social insurance device. The optimal yield tax is less than 100% and depends on the social value of forest stands, timber price risk and properties of compensated timber supply. In the general case the 'inverse elasticity rule’ – according to which the optimal yield tax is negatively related to the size of the substitution effects – may not hold. Under certainty, the desirability of the yield tax, given the optimal site productivity tax, depends only on the existence of public goods characteristic and is thus a pure Pigouvian tax. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997
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Volume (Year): 10 (1997)
Issue (Month): 1 (July)
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