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Nonseparable Utility and the Double Dividend Debate: Reconsidering the Tax-Interaction Effect

  • Jesse Schwartz


  • Robert Repetto
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    The literature on the use of environmental taxes inthe presence of distortionary (labor) taxes warns thata partial-equilibrium Pigouvian tax analysis is notappropriate because increasing the price of dirtygoods can futher aggravate the prexisting distortions. This argument is most frequently made assuming thatlabor is taxed to meet a fixed revenue requirement.When a dirty good is also taxed, others argue thatthis lowers workers' real wages, causing people toreduce their labor supply below its already suboptimallevel, aggravating labor market distortions. However,most papers ignore the effect that a cleanerenvironment can have on labor supply. That is, mostpast work has assumed that the quality of theenvironment is weakly separable in the utilityfunction. We argue that a cleaner environment canincrease labor supply, at least partially offsettingany incentive for workers to decrease their laborsupply. Further, we show explicitly how relaxing theseparability assumption affects the standardresults. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

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    Article provided by European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in its journal Environmental and Resource Economics.

    Volume (Year): 15 (2000)
    Issue (Month): 2 (February)
    Pages: 149-157

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:15:y:2000:i:2:p:149-157
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    1. Parry Ian W. H., 1995. "Pollution Taxes and Revenue Recycling," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages S64-S77, November.
    2. Krupnick, Alan J. & Harrington, Winston & Ostro, Bart, 1990. "Ambient ozone and acute health effects: Evidence from daily data," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 1-18, January.
    3. Portney, Paul R. & Mullahy, John, 1986. "Urban air quality and acute respiratory illness," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 21-38, July.
    4. 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.
    5. A. Lans Bovenberg & Lawrence H. Goulder, 1994. "Optimal Environmental Taxation in the Presence of Other Taxes: General Equilibrium Analyses," NBER Working Papers 4897, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Bovenberg, A.L. & Goulder, L.H., 1996. "Optimal environmental taxation in the presence of other taxes : General equilibrium analyses," Other publications TiSEM 5d4b7517-c5c8-4ef6-ab76-3, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    7. Ostro, Bart D., 1983. "The effects of air pollution on work loss and morbidity," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 371-382, December.
    8. Lawrence H. Goulder & Ian W. H. Parry & Dallas Burtraw, 1996. "Revenue-Raising vs. Other Approaches to Environmental Protection: The Critical Significance of Pre-Existing Tax Distortions," NBER Working Papers 5641, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Bovenberg, A.L. & de Mooij, R.A., 1994. "Environmental levies and distortionary taxation," Other publications TiSEM 4b32deaa-ec2f-4de7-b59b-9, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    10. Ostro, Bart, 1994. "Estimating the health effects of air pollutants : a method with an application to Jakarta," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1301, The World Bank.
    11. Thijs Zuidema & Andries Nentjes, 1997. "Health damage of air pollution: An estimate of a dose-response relationship for the Netherlands," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 9(3), pages 291-308, April.
    12. Pencavel, John, 1987. "Labor supply of men: A survey," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 1, pages 3-102 Elsevier.
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