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Why Finance Ministers Favor Carbon Taxes, Even If They Do Not Take Climate Change into Account

Author

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  • Max Franks

    () (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
    Berlin Institute of Technology)

  • Ottmar Edenhofer

    () (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
    Berlin Institute of Technology
    Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change)

  • Kai Lessmann

    () (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research)

Abstract

Abstract Fiscal considerations may shift governmental priorities away from environmental concerns: finance ministers face strong demand for public expenditures such as infrastructure investments but they are constrained by international tax competition. We develop a multi-region model of tax competition and resource extraction to assess the fiscal incentive of imposing a tax on carbon rather than on capital. We explicitly model international capital and resource markets, as well as intertemporal capital accumulation and resource extraction. While fossil resources give rise to scarcity rents, capital does not. With carbon taxes, the rents can be captured and invested in infrastructure, which leads to higher welfare than under capital taxation. This result holds even without modeling environmental damages. It is robust under a variation of the behavioral assumptions of resource importers to coordinate their actions, and a resource exporter’s ability to counteract carbon policies. Further, no green paradox occurs—instead, the carbon tax constitutes a viable green policy, since it postpones extraction and reduces cumulative emissions.

Suggested Citation

  • Max Franks & Ottmar Edenhofer & Kai Lessmann, 2017. "Why Finance Ministers Favor Carbon Taxes, Even If They Do Not Take Climate Change into Account," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 68(3), pages 445-472, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:68:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10640-015-9982-1
    DOI: 10.1007/s10640-015-9982-1
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    Cited by:

    1. Habla, Wolfgang, 2016. "The Green Paradox and Interjurisdictional Competition across Space and Time," Working Papers in Economics 668, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    2. Adrien Vogt‐Schilb & Stephane Hallegatte, 2017. "Climate policies and nationally determined contributions: reconciling the needed ambition with the political economy," Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 6(6), November.
    3. repec:eee:energy:v:159:y:2018:i:c:p:558-568 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Ritter, Hendrik & Runkel, Marco & Zimmermann, Karl, 2019. "Environmental Effects of Capital Income Taxation - A New Double Dividend?," EconStor Preprints 195172, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    5. Runkel, Marco & Kellner, Maximilian, 2018. "Climate Policy and Optimal Public Debt," Annual Conference 2018 (Freiburg, Breisgau): Digital Economy 181639, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Siegmeier, Jan & Mattauch, Linus & Franks, Max & Klenert, David & Schultes, Anselm & Edenhofer, Ottmar, 2015. "A Public Finance Perspective on Climate Policy: Six Interactions That May Enhance Welfare," Climate Change and Sustainable Development 202119, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
    7. Karl Zimmermann, 2019. "Public Infrastructure Provision in the Presence of Terms-of-Trade Effects and Tax Competition," EconStor Preprints 193458, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    8. Bak, Céline & Bhattacharya, Amar & Edenhofer, Ottmar & Knopf, Brigitte, 2017. "Towards a comprehensive approach to climate policy, sustainable infrastructure, and finance," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 11, pages 1-13.
    9. repec:eee:jeeman:v:92:y:2018:i:c:p:100-124 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Emmanuel Combet, 2016. "Energy Tax Reform in Time of Crisis - The Case of Energy-Dependent and Open Economies," Working Papers 2016.06, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Carbon pricing; Green paradox; Infrastructure; Optimal taxation; Strategic instrument choice; Supply-side dynamics; Tax competition;

    JEL classification:

    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General
    • H73 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Interjurisdictional Differentials and Their Effects
    • Q38 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy (includes OPEC Policy)

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